The effect of polymer morphology on the joining of thermoplastic polymer composites

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Metallurgy and Materials


Thermoplastic polymer composites offers weight saving opportunities in automotive applications. In addition, their use facilitates recycling of automotive parts made from these materials. However, there is a need to use the correct material in the correct location and aluminium alloys will remain an integral component material for the future. Therefore, there is a requirement to bond thermoplastic to aluminium and this project seeks to explore the role of polymer microstructure on the strength of these bonded components.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1953085 Studentship EP/N509590/1 25/09/2017 30/09/2020 William Hamby
Description This project looks at the use and optimisation of thermoplastic composites for automotive specific applications. Thermoplastic composites are an excellent replacement for existing metallic/thermoset plastic components used in the automotive industry. They posses good toughness, strength and stiffness and are additionally lightweight and perhaps most importantly recyclable. Thermo-forming techniques such as stamp forming is used to mould the composite with shape stabilisation taking place via crystallisation of the matrix polymer. Current key or previously unreported findings are as follows.

- Secondary crystallisation. Demonstrated on annealing using thermal analysis techniques such as Differential scanning calorimetry. This is a key finding and could lead to a reduction in creep behaviour of the matrix polymer.
- Use of a new kinetic model never before used on Polyamide/Polyamide composites which takes into account secondary crystallisation when determining the crystallisation kinetics of a polymer system. This could be key within the automotive industry as it would determine optimal processing parameters such as time and temperature during the forming process.
- Extraction of composite samples for x-ray diffraction. Allowing for crystallinity quantification and matrix orientation to be determined by bot Wide and Small x-ray scattering.
Exploitation Route Relating to the automotive & aerospace industry, my findings are key in terms of understanding crystallisation kinetics and enhancing the properties of thermoplastic composites by optimising the processing techniques such as stamp forming. These findings could then contribute to the development of more fuel efficient automotive vehicles with the added advantage of subsequent parts being re-usable and/or recyclable.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Transport,Other