Processing Behavior of Thermoplastics Reinforced with Melt Processable Glasses
Young, Robert Thomas
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This work was concerned with evaluating the behavior of thermoplastics reinforced with melt processable phosphate glasses processed by techniques including injection molding, compression molding, and thermoforming. Thermoplastic resins consisting of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyetherimide (PEI) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK) were combined with phosphate glasses having glass transition temperatures (Tg) that ranged from 230-290°C to form composite systems where both the matrix and reinforcing phase were deformable during processing. For the process of injection molding, several factors were examined to maximize the mechanical properties obtained with the addition of the phosphate glasses. The influence of variables such as the glass and matrix viscosity, glass loading, melt temperature, and mold fill rate were examined for a variety of composite blends consisting of the PPS, PEI, and PEEK reinforced with a lower Tg (234°C) phosphate glass and PEEK blended with a higher Tg (282°C) glass. From this work, it was determined that the best mechanical properties were generally produced by using processing temperatures and material combinations that minimized the viscosity differences between the thermoplastic resin and phosphate glass. Variations in the material combinations and processing conditions utilized were also found to result in the formation of a variety of glass phase morphologies that consisted of droplets, ribbons, and an interpenetrating network structure. The addition of the phosphate glass to the neat thermoplastics resins was found to be an effective way to produce injection moldable composite blends. The stiffness of the composite blends increased with glass loading with composites containing up to 45 vol% phosphate glass exhibiting machine direction tensile and flexural moduli in the range of 3-5 times greater than that those of the neat thermoplastics. Additionally, these composites were found to offer moduli and strengths that ranged from 25-50% lower than conventional E-glass fiber reinforced materials of the same loading. The lower mechanical properties of the neat phosphate glasses coupled with a lack of adhesion between the matrices and the glasses helped contribute to the lower mechanical properties exhibited by the phosphate glass reinforced composites. Still, the phosphate glass reinforced blends offered certain advantages including lower mechanical anisotropy, smoother surfaces, and lower viscosities. The processing behavior of phosphate glass reinforced thermoplastics was also examined at temperatures commonly used in forming and shaping operations such as compression molding and thermoforming. It was determined that it was possible to deform the phosphate glass reinforcing phase along with the matrix resin at temperatures only 30-50°C above the Tg of the glass. The deformable phosphate glass reinforcing phase resulted in composite blends that exhibited greater extensibility than a solid E-glass fiber reinforced material. The elongation of the phosphate glass into a higher aspect ratio reinforcing morphology was found to result in an almost 25% increase in the tensile modulus for a polyphenylene sulfide based composite.
- Doctoral Dissertations