Polyimide matrix composites (PiMC's) allow the advantages of high specific stiffness and strength to be extended to high temperature applications. Hence, PiMC's are desirable for use in high temperature aerospace structures such as space launch propulsion systems, rocket engine components and advanced turbine engines [1,2]. Relative to epoxy matrices, polyimide matrix composites are more expensive and more difficult to fabricate, hence they are likely to be used only in applications where their high temperature properties are truly needed and will be fully exploited. Hence an understanding of and an ability to model the high temperature performance of these materials is critical to their adoption in real-world applications. Among the many issues surrounding these materials, delamination due to the rapid heat-up of moisture saturated composites has emerged as a limiter to the allowable rates of heating. As laminates heat-up, moisture absorbed into the matrix or trapped in voids will vaporize and develop high pressures (up to the vapor pressure of saturated steam, approximately 10 MPa at 320°C) that can cause delamination of existing flaws or can nucleate voids in the matrix leading to failure of the laminate.

1.
Meador, M., 1995. “Materials challenge diversification and the future”. In 40th International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, pp. 268–276.
2.
Bowman, C. L., Sutter, J. K., Thesken, J. C., and Rice, B. P., 2001. “Characterization of graphite fiber/ polyimide composites for RLV applications”. In 46th International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, pp. 1515–1529.
3.
Rice, B. P., 1996. “Hygrothermal studies on fluorinate poly-imides - a physical characterization”. In 28th International SAMPE Technical Conference, pp. 778–789.
4.
Rice, B. P., and Lee, C. W., 1997. “Study of blister initiation and growth in a high-temperature polyimide”. In 29th International SAMPE Technical Conference, pp. 675–685.
5.
Hui
C. Y.
,
Muralidharan
V.
, and
Thompson
M. O.
,
2005
. “
Steam pressure induced in crack-like cavities in moisture saturated polymer matrix composites during rapid heating
”.
International Journal of Solids and Structures
,
42
, pp.
1055
1072
.
6.
Bhargava, P., Chuang, K. C., and Zehnder, A. T., 2006. “Moisture diffusion properties of polyimide HFPE-II-52 resin”. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, accepted.
7.
Bharagava
P.
, and
Zehnder
A. T.
,
2006
. “
High temperature shear strength of T650-35 / HFPE-II-52 polyimide matrix unidirectional composite
”.
Experimental Mechanics
,
46
, pp.
245
255
.
8.
Antonakakis
J. N.
,
Bhargava
P.
,
Chuang
K. C.
, and
Zehnder
A. T.
,
2006
. “
Linear viscoelastic properties of HFPE-II-52 polyimide
”.
Journal of Applied Polymer Science
,
100
, pp.
3255
3266
.
9.
Chuang, K. C., Papadopoulos, D. S., and Arendt, C. P., 2002. “High Tg polymimide composites II”. In 47th International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, pp. 1175–1187.
10.
Chuang
K. C.
,
Bowman
C. L.
,
Tsotis
T. K.
, and
Arendt
C. P.
,
2003
. “
6F-polyimides with phenylenthynyl endcap for 315–370°C applications
High Performance Polymers
,
15
, pp.
459
472
.
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.