Effects of carbon nanofiller functionalization and distribution on interlaminar fracture toughness of multi-scale reinforced polymer composites

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Abstract

Carbon nanofillers with different surface functional groups and aspect ratios, including carboxyl carbon nanotubes, un-functionalized carbon nanofibers (CNFs), glycidyloxypropyl-trimethoxysilane carbon nanotubes (GPS-CNTs) and nanofibers were evaluated for their potential for increasing the interlaminar fracture toughness of an S2-glass fiber/epoxy composite. The fillers were added in the matrix of the fiber reinforced plies, in the resin interlayer between plies, or in both regions. Comparisons were made based on mode I and mode II interlaminar fracture toughness. For composites made with CNTs dispersed in the matrix, fracture toughness was largely unaffected except for a slight increase seen with long GPS-CNTs. However, adding a CNF or CNT modified resin interlayer significantly increased the fracture toughness, with the highest improvement over the baseline material achieved by adding long GPS-CNTs in the interlayer (79% and 91% for mode I and mode II onset toughness, respectively). Important material parameters identified for improving interlaminar fracture toughness are the nanofiller aspect ratio and concentration at the fracture plane. Based on microscopic evaluations of the fracture surfaces, a high density of high aspect ratio nanofillers causes the best entanglement between the filler and glass fibers and effectively obstructs interlaminar crack propagation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1331
Number of pages16
JournalCarbon
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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