On the Analyses of Cure Cycle Effects on Peel Strength Characteristics in Carbon High-Tg Epoxy/Plasma-Activated Carbon PEEK Composite Interfaces: A Preliminary Inquiry


Perrin H., Vaudemont R., Bodaghi M.


Materials, vol. 16, n° 23, art. no. 7340, 2023


In this study, a high-Tg aerospace-grade epoxy composite plate was co-curing welded using a unidirectional PEEK thermoplastic carbon fibre tape to develop advanced composite joints. To account for the surface roughness and the weldability of carbon–epoxy/carbon–PEEK composites, plasma treatments were performed. The co-curing was conducted by the following steps: each treated thermoplastic tape was first placed in the mould, and followed by nine layers of dry-woven carbon fabrics. The mould was sealed using a vacuum bag, and a bi-component thermoset (RTM6) impregnated the preform. To understand the role of curing kinetics, post-curing, curing temperature, and dwell time on the quality of joints, five cure cycles were programmed. The strengths of the welded joints were investigated via the interlayer peeling test. Furthermore, cross-sections of welded zones were assessed using scanning electron microscopy in terms of the morphology of the PEEK/epoxy interphase after co-curing. The preliminary results showed that the cure cycle is an important controlling parameter for crack propagation. A noticeable distinction was evident between the samples cured first at 140 °C for 2 h and then at 180 °C for 2 h, and those cured initially at 150 °C for 2 h followed by 180 °C for 2 h. In other words, the samples subjected to the latter curing conditions exhibited consistently reproducible results with minimal errors compared to different samples. The reduced errors confirmed the reproducibility of these samples, indicating that the adhesion between CF/PEEK and CF/RTM6 tends to be more stable in this curing scenario.



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