CRADA Final Report for CRADA No. ORNL99-0544, Interfacial Properties of Electron Beam Cured Composites

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Electron beam (EB) curing is a technology that promises, in certain applications, to deliver lower cost and higher performance polymer matrix composite (PMC) structures compared to conventional thermal curing processes. PMCs enhance performance by making products lighter, stronger, more durable, and less energy demanding. They are essential in weight- and performance-dominated applications. Affordable PMCs can enhance US economic prosperity and national security. US industry expects rapid implementation of electron beam cured composites in aircraft and aerospace applications as satisfactory properties are demonstrated, and implementation in lower performance applications will likely follow thereafter. In fact, at this time and partly because ... continued below

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Janke, C.J. October 17, 2005.

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Description

Electron beam (EB) curing is a technology that promises, in certain applications, to deliver lower cost and higher performance polymer matrix composite (PMC) structures compared to conventional thermal curing processes. PMCs enhance performance by making products lighter, stronger, more durable, and less energy demanding. They are essential in weight- and performance-dominated applications. Affordable PMCs can enhance US economic prosperity and national security. US industry expects rapid implementation of electron beam cured composites in aircraft and aerospace applications as satisfactory properties are demonstrated, and implementation in lower performance applications will likely follow thereafter. In fact, at this time and partly because of discoveries made in this project, field demonstrations are underway that may result in the first fielded applications of electron beam cured composites. Serious obstacles preventing the widespread use of electron beam cured PMCs in many applications are their relatively poor interfacial properties and resin toughness. The composite shear strength and resin toughness of electron beam cured carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites were about 25% and 50% lower, respectively, than those of thermally cured composites of similar formulations. The essential purpose of this project was to improve the mechanical properties of electron beam cured, carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites, with a specific focus on composite shear properties for high performance aerospace applications. Many partners, sponsors, and subcontractors participated in this project. There were four government sponsors from three federal agencies, with the US Department of Energy (DOE) being the principal sponsor. The project was executed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) participants, eleven private CRADA partners, and two subcontractors. A list of key project contacts is provided in Appendix A. In order to properly manage the large project team and properly address the various technical tasks, the CRADA team was organized into integrated project teams (IPT's) with each team focused on specific research areas. Early in the project, the end user partners developed ''exit criteria'', recorded in Appendix B, against which the project's success was to be judged. The project team made several important discoveries. A number of fiber coatings or treatments were developed that improved fiber-matrix adhesion by 40% or more, according to microdebond testing. The effects of dose-time and temperature-time profiles during the cure were investigated, and it was determined that fiber-matrix adhesion is relatively insensitive to the irradiation procedure, but can be elevated appreciably by thermal postcuring. Electron beam curable resin properties were improved substantially, with 80% increase in electron beam 798 resin toughness, and {approx}25% and 50% improvement, respectively, in ultimate tensile strength and ultimate tensile strain vs. earlier generation electron beam curable resins. Additionally, a new resin electron beam 800E was developed with generally good properties, and a very notable 120% improvement in transverse composite tensile strength vs. earlier generation electron beam cured carbon fiber reinforced epoxies. Chemical kinetics studies showed that reaction pathways can be affected by the irradiation parameters, although no consequential effects on material properties have been noted to date. Preliminary thermal kinetics models were developed to predict degree of cure vs. irradiation and thermal parameters. These models are continually being refined and validated. Despite the aforementioned impressive accomplishments, the project team did not fully realize the project objectives. The best methods for improving adhesion were combined with the improved electron beam 3K resin to make prepreg and uni-directional test laminates from which composite properties could be determined. Nevertheless, only minor improvements in the composite shear strength, and moderate improvements in the transverse tensile strength, were achieved. The project team was not satisfied with the laminate quality achieved, and low quality (specifically, high void fraction) laminates will compromise the composite properties. There were several problems with the prepregging and fabrication, many of them related to the use of new fiber treatments.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2003/130
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885946 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885946
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc876130

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  • October 17, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 23, 2016, 11:59 a.m.

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Janke, C.J. CRADA Final Report for CRADA No. ORNL99-0544, Interfacial Properties of Electron Beam Cured Composites, report, October 17, 2005; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc876130/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.