Sol-gel glass microcomposite processing of polybenzobisthiazole (PBZT) films increased the compressive strength of PBZT/PEEK film laminates by more than four times. The presence of glass within microfibrillar regions of PBZT/sol-gel glass microcomposite films inhibited microbuckling during compression and greatly increased resistance to compressive failure.
Studies of PBZT/sol-gel glass microcomposite film morphology conducted at UMass by E.L. Thomas and at Penn State by C. Pantano indicated sol-gel glass precursor solutions had condensed within PBZT to produce a fine-scale (100 to 300Å) granular structure, homogeneously distributed throughout PBZT lamellae of microfibrils.
In a parallel effort, we have successfully extended sol-gel microcomposite processing technology for the improvement of compressive strength in ordered polymer fibers. Details concerning our results will be discussed.