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Title:Self-sealing of thermal fatigue and mechanical damage in fiber-reinforced composite materials
Author(s):Moll, Jericho L.
Director of Research:Sottos, Nancy R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sottos, Nancy R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Braun, Paul V.; White, Scott R.; Cheng, Jianjun
Department / Program:Materials Science & Engineerng
Discipline:Materials Science & Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
thermal fatigue
fiber-reinforced composite
Abstract:Fiber reinforced composite tanks provide a promising method of storage for liquid oxygen and hydrogen for aerospace applications. The inherent thermal fatigue of these vessels leads to the formation of microcracks, which allow gas phase leakage across the tank walls. In this dissertation, self-healing functionality is imparted to a structural composite to effectively seal microcracks induced by both mechanical and thermal loading cycles. Two different microencapsulated healing chemistries are investigated in woven glass fiber/epoxy and uni-weave carbon fiber/epoxy composites. Self-healing of mechanically induced damage was first studied in a room temperature cured plain weave E-glass/epoxy composite with encapsulated dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) monomer and wax protected Grubbs' catalyst healing components. A controlled amount of microcracking was introduced through cyclic indentation of opposing surfaces of the composite. The resulting damage zone was proportional to the indentation load. Healing was assessed through the use of a pressure cell apparatus to detect nitrogen flow through the thickness direction of the damaged composite. Successful healing resulted in a perfect seal, with no measurable gas flow. The effect of DCPD microcapsule size (51 um and 18 um) and concentration (0 - 12.2 wt%) on the self-sealing ability was investigated. Composite specimens with 6.5 wt% 51 um capsules sealed 67% of the time, compared to 13% for the control panels without healing components. A thermally stable, dual microcapsule healing chemistry comprised of silanol terminated poly(dimethyl siloxane) plus a crosslinking agent and a tin catalyst was employed to allow higher composite processing temperatures. The microcapsules were incorporated into a satin weave E-glass fiber/epoxy composite processed at 120C to yield a glass transition temperature of 127C. Self-sealing ability after mechanical damage was assessed for different microcapsule sizes (25 um and 42 um) and concentrations (0 - 11 vol%). Incorporating 9 vol% 42 um capsules or 11 vol% 25 um capsules into the composite matrix leads to 100% of the samples sealing. The effect of microcapsule concentration on the short beam strength, storage modulus, and glass transition temperature of the composite specimens was also investigated. The thermally stable tin catalyzed poly(dimethyl siloxane) healing chemistry was then integrated into a [0/90]s uniweave carbon fiber/epoxy composite. Thermal cycling (-196C to 35C) of these specimens lead to the formation of microcracks, over time, formed a percolating crack network from one side of the composite to the other, resulting in a gas permeable specimen. Crack damage accumulation and sample permeability was monitored with number of cycles for both self-healing and traditional non-healing composites. Crack accumulation occurred at a similar rate for all sample types tested. A 63% increase in lifetime extension was achieved for the self-healing specimens over traditional non-healing composites.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:© 2011 by Jericho Lynn Moll. All rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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