A method for preparing small carbon fiber reinforced composite test specimens is described which results in high quality specimens of high fiber volume fraction. The method consists of impregnation of the carbon fiber bundles with a solution of a resin, partial drying, careful loading in a mold which is tight in the long dimensions but loose at the ends, and treatment of the mold and contents under heat and vacuum to completely remove solvent and air before mold closure. The mold is closed and heat and pressure are applied without breaking the vacuum. The bars produced have excellent mechanical properties, which is shown to be due to good composite preparation rather than as a result of size. The small composites serve as standards against which larger composites with their various imperfections can be compared. They are also useful for evaluating new fibers, new resins, fiber surface treatments, and molding conditions.
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