JOURNAL OF APPLIED POLYMER SCIENCE, vol.139, no.29, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
In this study, carbon fiber (CF)/polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) composites with 5% void content, manufactured via an in situ consolidated automated fiber placement (AFP) lay-up process, are aged in hot water at 70 degrees C for 30 days. Firstly, a deep understanding of the deterioration in the mechanical performance is developed with a comprehensive and complementary set of material characterization strategies, including (i) microstructural characterization with Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), (ii) thermal characterization with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and (iii) dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). The material characterization concurrently highlights the plasticization and post-crystallization phenomena after aging with changes in the peak densities with FTIR, formation of second glass transition temperature (T-g) in DSC and DMA, and drop in storage modulus, loss modulus, and tan delta (delta) amplitudes. Then, acoustic emission (AE) is utilized as an inspection tool to identify the damage mechanisms regarding the 6.5%, 5.2%, and 4% decrease in tensile strength, strain at failure and modulus, respectively, in a comparative manner. The AE findings, remarking the weakening of the fiber-matrix interface after aging, are validated with scanning electron microscopy analysis. This study introduces an aging process-induced damage mechanism triggered with inhomogeneous water absorption for AFP manufactured CF/PEKK composites with in situ consolidation.