Degradation Product Analysis of Bismaleimide Composite

Wendy Zhong, Western Kentucky University


This study evaluates the thermal and oxidative stabilities of a bismaleimide (BMI) polymer composite reinforced with an intermediate modulus graphite fiber, Cytec®5260/IM7. The composite is aged in helium, nitrogen, and air at elevated temperatures up to 600°C. Its weight change is followed thermogravimetrically for stability assessment. The effect of aging gas environment is also studied. The use of on-line gas cell fourier transform IR spectrometer (FTIR) and mass spectrometer (MS) allows for the identification of decomposition products by evolved gas analysis. This combination of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and evolved gas analysis by FTIR and MS yields complementary information regarding pyrolysis and oxidative degradation products. Based on the TGA-FTIR-MS results, the degradation pathways are explored, which may be used for developing new polymer composites having improved stabilities for high temperature aircraft engine applications.