Novel measuring method for prepreg processability of oxide fibre ceramic matrix composites
LINDNER F. 1, PUCHAS G. 1, SCHAFFÖNER S. 1
1 Chair of Ceramic Materials Engineering, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
The processing of pre-impregnated fabrics (prepregs) emerged as a favourable route for the fabrication of ceramic matrix composites (CMC). Different measuring methods were developed to describe the property “prepreg tack” for the processing of prepregs for polymer matrix composites (PMC). However, these studies proved to be insufficient for prepregs which comprise a ceramic slurry instead of a polymer matrix. Such prepregs are required for the fabrication of oxide fibre composites (OFC) by a cold roll lamination process investigated in this work. Hence, for those types of prepregs limited information regarding their processability is available, which typically stems from investigations of slurries, such as rheology, that do not properly translate to the processing of OFC prepregs. Therefore, a novel testing method was developed, which determined the behaviour of a prepreg stack in process-oriented conditions. This method provided qualitative information not only on the squeeze flow of the slurry, but also on its ability to maintain an imposed level of prepreg compaction with no major rebounding throughout the following processing steps. Tests were carried out with prepreg systems comprising Nextel™610 fabrics (DF-19; 3M, USA) and an alumina-zirconia slurry with and without the addition of graphite particles. The obtained results were in excellent agreement with the actual fabrication process, as it was possible to estimate the resulting fibre volume content of full-scale composite plates (110x110 mm2) based on “mini-laminates” (35x35 mm2). It was shown that the laminate rebound not only depends on the fabric and the slurry rheology, but also on the particle size of the slurry. The described method offers therefore a helpful straight-forward approach for the assessment of the prepreg processability, enabling quality control as well as the evaluation of new prepreg systems.