This experiment analyzed the structural capabilities of polymer matrix composite (PMC) samples after many years of exposure to hygrothermal conditioning. This strong, form-adaptive, lightweight material is suitable for use on critical structures including powerplants and spacecrafts, however, the degradation impacts from long-term exposure to heat and humidity is yet unverified. To study that phenomena, aged samples of PMC were sliced into filaments and analyzed using PeakForce mode of Atomic Force Microscopy with a 10nm radial tip. This data allowed for the analysis of strength and crack propagation to enhance understanding of environmental influences on PMC mechanical properties.
This experiment analyzed the structural capabilities of polymer matrix composite (PMC) samples exposed to hygrothermal conditions to determine if this strong, lightweight material could replace aluminum steel on critical structures, including power plants and spacecrafts. To obtain this information, the samples were exposed to an accelerated aging process simulating years of wear due to heat and moisture. Then filaments were analyzed using an atomic force microscope with a 10nm radial tip. This data allowed for the analysis of strength, such as elastic modulus throughout filament samples, explaining the capabilities and potential for this material’s future use.