Novel phthalonitrile-based composites with excellent processing, thermal, and mechanical properties

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Phthalonitrile resins exhibit excellent thermostability and mechanical strength after curing. However, poor processability made them difficult to fabricate fiber-reinforced composites with desirable integrated performance. In this article, a novel mixed phthalonitrile resin was developed to be used as the matrix for glass fiber–reinforced laminates. Poly (aryl ether nitrile phthalazinone) oligomer end-capped by phthalonitrile units (PPEN-PN) was firstly designed and blended with bisphenol-based phthalonitrile monomers (BP-PN) (Figure 1), which were obtained according to the literature procedure. A novel mixed curing agent (zinc chloride and 4,4-diamine-diphenylsulfone) was also exploited to accelerate curing rate of the resins. Solubility tests, differential scanning calorimetry and rheological studies revealed that the mixed resins exhibited good processability with low processing viscosity. Thermal gravimetric analysis indicated that the cured resins were stable below 530 to approximately 570 °C in nitrogen atmosphere after low-cost curing procedure. In air, char yields of the resins were between 30 to approximately 40% when heated to 800 °C. The laminates reinforced by E-glass fiber cloth possessed a bending strength of 668 MPa with interlaminar shear strength of 84.6 MPa at room temperature. 50% of the strength and modulus was maintained when heated to 400 °C. Consequently, this type of laminates may be potential candidates for aerospace applications.

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