Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Matthew Cavalli


A study has been taken to evaluate the utility of two Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic sampling methods in calculating the degree of cure in an industrial fiberglass-reinforced composite material. Methodologies examined include: attenuated total reflectance (ATR) and diffuse reflectance (DRIFTs), both which utilize the Agilent 4100 ExoScan FTIR platform. As the formulation of the unsaturated polyester resin used in the fabrication of the industrial composite is proprietary a cure model based on the plasticizer, styrene, is proposed. Results of the infrared tests show that neither the resolution of ATR FTIR or DRIFTs is sufficient to monitor cure of the polyester resin in real time. With a 95% confidence interval, cure states between 24 and 120 hours after resin infusion cannot be differentiated. Statistical significance can be noted, however; between pre- and post-processed samples which have been cured for an addition 14 hours at 60ºC. The methodology for calculating degree of cure, subsequent results and statistical analysis are presented.