Date of Award
Master of Science
Materials Science and Engineering
Michael R. Kessler
Polymer matrix composites, especially those with carbon fiber reinforcement, are becoming increasingly common in aerospace applications due to their high stiffness to weight ratio, resulting in significant weight and fuel savings on commercial and military aircraft. Despite their excellent properties, carbon fiber composites are often susceptible to damage in the form of delaminations or interlaminar cracking caused by low energy impact or manufacturing defects. Often not easily detectable, delaminations are detrimental to the strength of the composite and can ultimately result in failure of the component. Therefore methods must be developed to repair damaged composites. Injection repair is a procedure that involves injecting a low viscosity resin into the damaged area and subjecting the composite to heat to cure the resin. Currently, injection repairs are rarely used in high temperature applications because of the lack of resins with both low viscosity and high thermal stability. Therefore demonstrating the use of a resin with satisfactory viscosity and Tg requirements would expand the application of injection repairs to more vigorous environments.
In the present study, the injection repair method was developed to repair damaged bismaleimide carbon fiber composites that are similar to composites used on several high temperature weapon platforms. Bisphenol E cyanate ester (BECy) was chosen as the injection resin due to having the unique combination of low viscosity and a high glass transition temperature. Cure kinetic studies found an optimum undercure schedule to achieve the maximum Tg while avoiding the high temperature postcure. Mechanical and adhesive tests revealed that partially cured BECy had properties superior to that of the fully cured resin. Following the evaluation of the resin, the injection repair procedure and set up were developed. Successful and reproducible repairs were performed on panels pre-damaged through static loading and drop tower impact, as well as on panels of various thicknesses. Ultrasonic C-scans and flash thermography showed successful resin infiltration, and repair efficiencies were calculated by quantifying the stiffness of the pristine, delaminated and repair panels. Higher repair efficiencies were achieved for the static loading method over the drop tower method, as well as for thinner panels over thicker panels.
Amy Elizabeth Bauer
Bauer, Amy Elizabeth, "Injection repair of advanced aircraft composites with a high temperature cyanate ester resin" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13041.