Thermoplastic composite consolidation
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Fabrication of high-quality composites from thennoplastic prepregs requires careful selection of the processing cycles so that intimate contact at the ply interfaces is achieved resulting in the formation of strong interply bonds and the process-induced residual stress is minimized to ensure superior mechanical performance. The void formation and the consolidation mechanism were studied experimentally. A refined model was developed to relate the processing parameters of pressure, temperature and time to the interply intimate contact of thermoplastic composites. The model was developed by integrating a prepreg surface topology characterization with a resin flow analysis. Both unidirectional and cross-ply lay-ups were modeled. Two-ply unidirectional laminae fabricated from graphite-polysulfone and graphite-PEEK prepregs and [0/90/0]Å¢ laminates were consolidated using different processing cycles. Optical microscopy and scanning acoustic microscopy were used to obtain the degree of intimate contact data. Agreement between the measured and calculated degree of intimate contact was good. A finite element model was developed to analyze residual stresses in thermoplastic composites by combining a plane-strain elasticity analysis and a temperature-dependent matrix properties. The residual stress model takes into account the mismatch of the thermal expansion coefficients and the crystallization shrinkage of the matrix. [O10/906]Å¢ graphite-PEEK laminates were manufactured at different cooling rates to verify the model. The induced residual thermal defonnations were measured by a shadow moire system. The model accurately estimated the out-of-plane displacement of the non-symmetrical laminates.
- Doctoral Dissertations