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Post-Process Annealing of Large-Scale 3D Printed Polyphenylene Sulfide Composites...

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Additive Manufacturing
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Large-scale extrusion-based additive manufacturing of high-performance thermoplastic composites like fiber reinforced polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) is well-suited for tooling applications to lower manufacturing costs and lead times. Autoclave tooling requires good mechanical performance at temperatures even above the glass transition temperature (Tg). In this work, the authors have investigated a post-process isothermal annealing technique to improve the mechanical properties of various grades of carbon fiber reinforced PPS components printed on the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) system. Since PPS is a semi-crystalline polymer, crystallinity can change during annealing and affect the mechanical properties of the part. In addition, isothermal annealing can also lead to solid-state structural changes in the form of thermal and oxidative branching and/or crosslinking reactions in some grades of PPS which can alter the crystallization process. This work reports the effect of annealing on dynamic mechanical properties of BAAM printed components, along with studies to determine the effect of annealing on crystallinity and the occurrence of oxidative reactions. Results showed that isothermal annealing at 250 °C for 18 h improved the storage modulus of all selected grades (neat and reinforced) of PPS at temperatures above Tg. Annealing led to an overall increase in the degree of crystallinity, with secondary crystallization taking place. Although oxidative structural changes were observed to occur more on the surface of the PPS parts, they primarily influenced the size of crystals formed and did not significantly alter the degree of crystallinity at various regions within the sample.