Polyaryletherketone (PAEK) thermoplastic composites via in-situ ring opening polymerisation

John M. Masasi, Buu N. Dao, Carmelo Dell'Olio, Sam R. Swan, Salumeh Issadazeh, Jeffrey S. Wiggins, Russell J. Varley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This work investigates the synthesis and characterisation of macrocyclic oligomers (MCO) from 4, 4′-difluoro benzophenone and catechol, their ring opening polymerisation, fabrication into carbon fibre reinforced composite materials and depolymerisation. The MCOs are polymerized using Caesium fluoride at a variety of temperatures, times, and catalyst concentrations to produce ortho polyaryletherketone polymers (oPAEK) of varying glass transition temperature (Tg) and molecular weight. A dimer formed during synthesis which does not polymerise is removed enabling a more convenient synthesis using lower temperature and catalyst concentration. The first carbon fibre composite of oPAEK fabricated using in-situ ring opening polymerisation methods is therefore presented with and without MCO dimer. Composites made without dimer formed are able fabricated at 10 °C lower temperature than the corresponding MCO containing dimer and have improved thermal and mechanical properties. Depolymerisation of the MCO and the re-emergence of cyclic structures is reported, highlighting the reversible nature of the chemistry. The results presented here provide important guidance on the future development of in-situ polymerisation of high performance thermoplastic composites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108534
Number of pages10
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Early online date3 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


Funding Information:
RV gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian Research Council ( DP180100094 ) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Future Fibres ( IH140100018 ) for partial funding of this work.


  • Macrocyclic oligomers
  • Ring opening polymerisation
  • Thermoplastic composites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Engineering(all)


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