Nucleation and Crystallization of PA6 Composites Prepared by T-RTM: Effects of Carbon and Glass Fiber Loading
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Thermoplastic resin transfer molding (T-RTM) is attracting much attention due to the need for recyclable alternatives to thermoset materials. In this work, we have prepared polyamide-6 (PA6) and PA6/fiber composites by T-RTM of caprolactam. Glass and carbon fibers were employed in a fixed amount of 60 and 47 wt.%, respectively. Neat PA6 and PA6 matrices (of PA6-GF and PA6-CF) of approximately 200 kg/mol were obtained with conversion ratios exceeding 95%. Both carbon fibers (CF) and glass fibers (GF) were able to nucleate PA6, with efficiencies of 44% and 26%, respectively. The α crystal polymorph of PA6 was present in all samples. The lamellar spacing, lamellar thickness and crystallinity degree did not show significant variations in the samples with or without fibers as result of the slow cooling process applied during T-RTM. The overall isothermal crystallization rate decreased in the order: PA6-CF > PA6-GF > neat PA6, as a consequence of the different nucleation efficiencies. The ...