Thermoplastic microcomposites offer the potential for better economics and improvements in composite processing, and possibly performance, over conventional ‘string-and-glue’ composites. The early development of molecular composite technology focused on polyamide matrix polymers; however, for many aerospace applications higher use temperatures and greater solvent resistance than that of conventional polyamide matrices will be required. This paper describes work performed under contract to the U.S. Air Force to develop PBZT (poly p-phenylene benzobisthiazole)/thermoplastic molecular composites with high performance matrix resins into a viable technology.
A scaleable process has been defined based on a novel technology developed by Du Pont. Advantages of this process include better economics, superior processing performance, and improved MC fiber tensile properties versus prior art. Using this process we have obtained rule-of-mixtures properties in our microcomposite fibers with matrix polymers offering use temperatures from 330 to 600°F. Consolidation of PBZT/PEKK fibrous preforms into uniaxial panels up to 1011 × 1511 has been demonstrated and material propperty evaluation and data base development are in progress. Uniaxial property levels achieved to date for all systems compare favorably with conventional ‘string-and-glue’ PBZT/epoxy composites although as with other organic fiber reinforcements, compressive and shear performance may be limiting factors in MC applications.
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