Multiscale Process Modeling of Semicrystalline PEEK for Tailored Thermomechanical Properties

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is a semicrystalline thermoplastic that is used in high-performance composites for a wide range of applications. Because the crystalline phase has a higher mass density than that of the amorphous phase, the evolution of the crystalline phase during high-temperature annealing processing steps results in the formation of residual stresses and laminate deformations, which can adversely affect the composite laminate performance. Multiscale process modeling, utilizing molecular dynamics, micromechanics, and phenomenological PEEK crystal kinetic laws, is used to predict the evolution of volumetric shrinkage, elastic properties, and thermal properties, as a function of crystalline phase evolution, and thus annealing time, in the 306-328 °C temperature range. The results indicate that lower annealing temperatures in this range result in a faster evolution of thermomechanical properties and shrinkage toward the pure crystalline values. Therefore, from the perspective of composite processing, it may be more advantageous to choose the higher annealing rates in this range to slow the volumetric shrinkage and allow PEEK stress relaxation mechanisms more time to relax internal residual stresses in PEEK composite laminates and structures.

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ACS applied engineering materials