A High-Performance Material for Aerospace Applications: Development of Carbon Fiber Filled PEKK for Laser Sintering

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Date

2016

Authors

Fischer, S.
Pfister, A.
Galitz, V.
Lyons, B.
Robinson, C.
Rupel, K.
Booth, R.
Kubiak, S.

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University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

In a time where rapid prototyping successively transforms to additive manufacturing (AM), nylon 11 and 12 and their composite powders, which have evolved to be the most commonly used materials in laser sintering (LS) due to their easy processability, cannot fulfil all challenging requirements of industrial applications any more. Especially in the aerospace industry, there is a high demand for stiff and lightweight parts for interiors, which currently are fabricated from glass fiber reinforced phenolic and epoxy resins by a lamination process. Due to the strong diversity of the parts, this traditional manufacturing is quite labor-intensive and expensive, which makes it very attractive to manufacture these parts with additive manufacturing, especially laser sintering. Additional part design requirements, such as greater chemical and UV resistance, an elevated softening temperature, higher mechanical strength and better performance in flammability and heat release tests generate opportunities for the use of high performance AM polymers. Promising candidates that have the potential of satisfying these demands can be found among the different Polyaryletherketone thermoplastics. In this work we present the development of a carbon fiber filled PEKK composite material for laser sintering, optimized especially for the production of interiors, such as air ducts for cabin ventilation in aerospace application. Based on process tests, powder characterization and test builds, the material and its manufacturing procedure were optimized towards isotropic properties and refreshability. Simulations of building cycles helped to understand the extent of powder ageing, which is directly connected to the ability to recycle the material. Furthermore the laser sintering hardware of an EOSINT P800 and the building processes were adapted to ensure a stable building process and fulfill the requirements of parts on mechanical properties in x, y and z directions, dimensional stability and surface quality.

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