Morphology and properties of injection-moulded carbon-nanofibre poly(etheretherketone) foams
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Poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) is a high performance polymer that cannot usually be foamed reliably using conventional injection-moulding processes. Here, vapour-grown carbon nanofibres (CNFs) are introduced to stabilise the foaming process, and the resulting morphology of injection-moulded integral foams is investigated in detail. Different image analysis techniques revealed the positive effect of the nanofiller on the cellular structure. Electron microscopy confirmed a homogeneous dispersion of the nanofibres in the cellular PEEK cores. The mechanical properties of the foam injection-moulded samples, in bending, showed an increase in yield strength and elastic modulus with nanofibre loading fractions up to 15 wt%. Although the compressive properties of the foams were reduced as compared to the solid-polymer, the CNFs clearly offset this reduction in properties. Detailed differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical analysis provide further evidence of an interaction between the matrix and the nanoscale filler.
KeywordsFoam Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis Foam Sample Foam Core Polymeric Foam
Raquel Verdejo would like to acknowledge the financial support from the EPSRC.
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