Variable frequency microwave processing of thermoplastic composites

Ku, Harry S. and MacRobert, Martin and Siores, Elias and Ball, James A. R. (2000) Variable frequency microwave processing of thermoplastic composites. Plastics, Rubber and Composites, 29 (6). pp. 278-284. ISSN 1465-8011


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[Abstract]: This paper extends the range of applications for Variable Frequency Microwave (2 – 18 GHz) (VFM) facilities to thermoplastic composites. Five thermoplastic polymer matrix composites are processed and discussed, including 33% by weight random carbon fibre reinforced polystyrene [PS/CF (33%)], and low density polyethylene [LDPE/CF (33%)]; 33% by weight random glass fibre reinforce polystyrene [PS/GF (33%)], low density polyethylene [LDPE/GF (33%)] and nylon 66 [Nylon 66/GF (33%)]. Bond strengths of the joints were shear tensile tested and results were compared with those obtained using fixed frequency (2.45 GHz) microwave processing. The primer or coupling agent used was 5-minute two-part adhesive containing 100% liquid epoxy and 8% amine, which was more readily microwave reactive than the composites themselves. The VFMF was operated under software control, which provided automatic data logging facilities.
Industrial applications of microwaves are relatively new technology. Factors that hinder the use of microwaves in materials processing are declining, so the prospects for the development of this technology seem to be very promising.1 The mechanisms that govern the energy distribution process during microwave joining of materials include dipole friction, current loss and ion jump relaxation. This results in a relatively uniform heat distribution throughout the entire exposure to microwave irradiation, immediately in front of rectangular or circular waveguides. 2,3,4,10 The fast heating rate encountered using microwave energy can thus lead to reduced processing time and consequent energy efficiency. These advantages have encouraged the development of facilities for joining a range of thermoplastic composites autogenously and heterogeneously. In the heterogeneous mode, at room temperature, transparent materials, including a range of thermoplastic and thermosetting resins can be bonded using two part adhesives cured at fast rates when exposed to focused microwave irradiation.3,5,10

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2008 05:56
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: variable frequency microwaves, thermoplastic polymer composites, low density polyethylene, polystyrene, carbon fibre and glass fibre
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0912 Materials Engineering > 091202 Composite and Hybrid Materials
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4016 Materials engineering > 401602 Composite and hybrid materials

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