This thesis project aims to add to the knowledge of thermoplastic composites by looking at a resin which has not seen much research, polyetherketoneketone (PEKK for short). This
project has undertaken this by investigating the impregnation & consolidation mechanisms of carbon fibre-reinforced PEKK during processing and by investigating the mechanical
performance in relation to consolidation level. It is hoped that this study will aid future thermoplastic composite studies, and be a direct aid to the manufacture of CF-PEKK.
Laminate sheets of composite material, found to have around 10% void content, were supplied by Cytec, and compression moulding was chosen as the method to reconsolidate
the laminate specimens. Processing variables of holding time, applied pressure and temperature were controlled to measure the effects of these on consolidation.
Density tests were used to determine the experimental void content, and microscopy images were obtained to observe impregnation and measure composite fibre bundle properties. An impregnation model from literature was compared with experimental results.
Consolidation levels corresponding to < 1% void content were achieved. Good agreement between an impregnation model from literature and experimental results was found. The
impregnation model gives a good indication of required conditions to achieve 0% void content.
Three point flexure tests were used to measure the performance of the consolidated specimens. A 350% increase in flexure modulus between 11% and 0% void content was found and a 200% increase in flexure strength between 11% and 0% void content was also found.
Through the good results, the aims of the thesis were achieved, and it was found that high levels of consolidation could be reasonably achieved with CF-PEKK composite materials.