A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) of structural aircraft materials has been utilised to assess and compare the total emissions produced during manufacturing, use and disposal of aerospace materials and their selected components. First, a comparison of aluminium, GLARE and carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) plates was performed to investigate the potential of lightweight composites in reducing aviation emissions. Subsequently, a case study is presented on a tubular component for which more accurate manufacturing data were directly available. A structural steel tube was replaced with a composite tubular component. The analysis has shown that once the composite material is used as a component in the aircraft, there is a cumulative saving of aircraft fuel and emissions, in particular from CFRP structures. The environmental analysis included the long-term use predictions for CFRPs, involving detailed raw materials production, use and operation, and disposal scenarios.
In this work, the effect of the inclusion of electrically conductive and non-conductive nanofillers in a state of the art epoxy gelcoat was studied. The conductive fillers used were multi-wall carbon nanotubes and exfoliated nanographite. The non-conductive ones were nanoclay and nano-titanium dioxide. The content of the nanofillers was 0.65% per weight and their inclusion took place using high shear mixing devices. The conductive fillers showed an increase in tensile and fracture properties, as well as in the thermal properties whereas the non-conductive fillers did not show any improvement on the fracture properties. The glass transition temperature was practically unaffected by the presence of the nanofillers while conversly, the coefficient of thermal expansion was decreased for all the nanofillers for temperatures above the glass transition temperature. Finally, weatherometer tests showed that the nanofillers contribute into less weight losses in comparison with the reference epoxy gelcoat.
Self-reinforced poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) composites prepared by using a modified film-stacking technique were examined in this study. The starting materials included a high tenacity PET yarn (reinforcement) and a low melting temperature biodegradable polyester resin (matrix), both of which differ in their melting temperatures with a value of 56°C. This experiment produced composite sheets at three consolidation temperatures (Tc: 215, 225, and 235°C) at a constant holding time (th: 6.5 min), and three holding times (3, 6.5 and 10 min) at a constant consolidation temperature of 225°C. This study observed a significant improvement in the mechanical properties obtained in self-reinforced PET composites compared to the pure polyester resin. The results of tensile, flexural, and Izod impact tests proved that optimal conditions are low consolidation temperature and short holding time. The absorbed impact energy of the best self-reinforced PET composite material was 854.0 J/m, which is 63 times that of pure polyester resin.
In consequence of an increased interest in using endless carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites (TPC), automated and highly productive processing technologies for cutting and trimming steps of consolidated materials are sought. In this paper, the influence on the thermal effect caused by laser cutting with respect to static strength properties of TPC based on a polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) matrix is studied. For the cutting experiments, consolidated TPC laminates at varying thicknesses up to s = 3.1 mm and a disc laser emitting at a wavelength of λ = 1030 nm at a maximum output power of PL = 2 kW are used. For the first time, the resulting magnitude of the heat affected zone (HAZ) at the cutting edge of the composite material is correlated with interlaminar shear strength tests. The results are compared to specimens prepared by milling and abrasive water jet cutting. Depending on the laminate thickness, the laser treated TPC samples show comparable properties to those of conventionally processed specimens. A reduced load bearing area, as a consequence of damaged fibre-matrix-adhesion due to laser impact, is identified as main factor for the reduction of interlaminar shear strengths for higher laminate thicknesses.
The effect of temperature on the fracture behaviour of a microcapsule-loaded epoxy matrix was investigated. Microencapsulated epoxy and mercaptan-derivative healing agents were incorporated into an epoxy matrix to produce a polymer composite capable of self-healing. Maximum fracture loads were measured using the double-torsion method. Thermal aging at 55 and 110°C for 17 hours [hrs] was applied to heal the pre-cracked samples. The addition of microcapsules appeared to increase significantly the load carrying capacity of the epoxy after healing. Once healed, the composites achieved as much as 93–171% of its virgin maximum fracture load at 18, 55 and 110°C. The fracture behavior of the microcapsule- loaded epoxy matrix was influenced by the healing temperature. The high self-healing efficiency may be attributed to the result of the subsurface micro-crack pinning or deviation, and to a stronger microencapsulated epoxy and mercaptanderivative binder than that of the bulk epoxy. The results show that the healing temperature has a significant effect on recovery of load transferring capability after fracture.
A shape memory polymer (SMP) can be deformed from a permanent to a temporary shape above their transformation temperature. Upon reheating, the SMP spontaneously returns to the permanent shape. SMP’s show high deformability, but the recovery stresses are very low, thus limiting the size of the components. This paper presents the first results of an ongoing research to develop large sized components based on SMP. To achieve higher recovery stresses, asymmetric fibre reinforced shape memory composites were produced (SMPC) using resin transfer moulding. The results show a 30-fold increase in recovery stress, compared to the neat SMP resin. The recovery stress is independent of the deformation temperature, but is strongly affected by the degree of deformation. At higher deformation levels, crazing occurs. Even though the visible effects of the crazing disappear during reheating, it does influence the recovery stress. This indicates that the ability to recover the permanent shape might change in cyclic loading. All composites tested show complete recovery upon reheating. The rate of shape recovery is higher when the fibre reinforcement is loaded in compression.
Improving combat survivability is the most important aspect of military technology. Hence the development of new lightweight armour systems is a key requirement. A large number of new high performance polymer fibres have been developed in recent years, which include Aramid fibres, polyethylene fibres and polypropylene fibres, amongst others, and have been applied to soft armour systems. To gain a fundamental understanding of which fibre type is the best for a specific application requires the development of techniques which can span all length scales. It has been widely recognised that multiscale modelling, which encompasses the full range of length and time scales, will be an important factor in the future design and testing of novel materials, and their application to armour design. In the present paper a new material damage model suitable for the simulation of impact on thin laminated panels fabricated from high performance fibres is implemented into the commercial ls-dyna® finite element code. The new material model links the mesoscale behaviour of the individual fibres to the macroscale behaviour within a conventional shell finite element. The implemented model is used in a parametric high velocity study to illustrate the applicability of the model to the design of thin armour panels.
First, traditional diamine hardeners of epoxy resins (EP) were checked as potential accelerators for the benzoxazine (BOX) homopolymerization. It was established that the acceleration effect depends on both the type and amount of the diamine compounds. In the follow-up work amine-curable diglycidyl ether bisphenol A (DGEBA) type EP was modified with BOX keeping the EP/BOX ratio constant (75/25 wt.%). The amine hardeners, added in the EP in stoichiometric amounts, were of aliphatic and aromatic nature, viz. diethylenetriamine (DETA), 4,4'-diaminodiphenyl methane (DDM), and their 1/1 mixture. The thermal, viscoelastic, flexural and fracture mechanical properties of the EP/BOX hybrids were determined and compared to those of the reference EPs. Based on dynamic-mechanical thermal analysis and atomic force microscopy the formation of co-network between EP and BOX was concluded. Homopolymerized BOX was built in the network in nanoscaled inclusions and it was associated with internal antiplasticization. Incorporation of BOX improved the charring, enhanced the flexural modulus and strength, and reduced the glass transition of the parent EP. The fracture toughness and energy were not improved by hybridization with BOX.