1st International Conference on Engineering and Applied Natural Sciences, Konya, Turkey, 10 May 2022, pp.1
Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) is an automated manufacturing technique that can produce large-scale structural composite structures in a repeatable manner with high production rates, especially for the aerospace industry. This technique gained more attention by adopting a high-performance thermoplastic (TP) matrix, which provides improved durability, toughness, and recyclability with limitless shelf life. However, in the aerospace industry, TP composite structures are exposed to a hot-wet environment; thus, it is critical to evaluate the performance of structures under representative service conditions. In this study, the effect of AFP process parameters, including lay-up velocity and consolidation pressure, on the service performance of CF/PEKK composites after short-term hydrothermal aging was presented. To simulate the hydrothermal aging process, composite laminates were aged in a water bath at 70°C for 30 days, which results in an average of 0.17% water absorption. Hydrothermal aging of TP composites was evaluated with thermomechanical analysis, which exhibited a drop in storage modulus and glass transition temperature by an average of 18.5 and 9%, respectively. These findings were further elaborated with optical microscopy for void content and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and dynamic scanning calorimetry analyses. Consequently, the low lay-up velocity and high consolidation pressure decreased the destructive effects of hydrothermal aging for CF/PEKK composite structures.