Sacrificial component fabrication for optimised production of micro-vascular polymer composite

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Smart functional materials are a viable future goal for advanced applications in aerospace, space and medical applications. In this work micro-vascular polymer composite systems have been developed using sacrificial fibres produced from catalyst loaded Poly(lactic acid). The sacrificial fibres have been produced via a published technique which treated PLA in a solvent catalyst mixture of 60% Trifluoroethanol, 40% H2O dispersed with 10 wt% tin (II) oxalate catalyst. A second process of polymer extrusion of PLA using graded fill contents of tin (II) oxalate has also been developed for the up scaled production of fibres as an alternative to solution treatment. Thermal analysis (TGA) was used to compare sacrificial fibre specimens. PLA fibres produced via the polymer extrusion method outperformed solution treated fibres displaying a lower degradation onset temperature (average 25°C lower), higher degradation rates (observed through a derivative curve comparison) and lower residual catalyst content (0.67% solvent treated fibre against 0.16% extruded fibre). The continuous extrusion process is solvent free and is suitable for high volume production. This work has been carried out to fully understand the fabrication issues with sacrificial components.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012005
Number of pages10
JournalIOP Conference Series Materials Science and Engineering
Issue numberConference 1
Early online date17 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished online - 17 Feb 2015


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