New paradigm in composite/nanocomposite design

This article appeared in the September–October 2018 issue of Reinforced Plastics. Log in to your free profile to access the article.

Advanced composite materials are characterized by lightweight and unusually high stiffness, strength, modulus, etc. Their application field keeps on expanding as cheaper methods for synthesizing raw materials are found. Composite materials are now found in virtually all facets of applied materials. Unlike a few decades ago when their application was limited to small parts; for example spoilers, failings, bonnets, etc, currently a new generation of airplane fuselage and wings are completely made of high-performance fiber reinforced composites. The inherent high specific strength, low density, chemical and corrosion resistance make them ideal for future applications. Typically, composite materials consist of a combination of two or more materials that are mixed with an aim of achieving a specific structural properties. An effective composite should be able to optimize the properties of the individual components as one.

In fiber reinforced composites, the fiber is the primary load carrying element while the matrix supports the fibers and aid in load transfer apart from providing environment resistance to the whole composite material. The interface between the fibers and matrix is very crucial in composite design. This interfacial region plays a critical role where it determines final strength in composites/nanocomposites. The bonding behavior at this region can determine whether the reinforcement phase such as carbon fiber, glass fiber, carbon nanotubes, silicon dioxide, graphene oxide, etc. will complement the final material properties. Improving the interfacial region is the main reason why fiber sizing is done to increase its affinity between fibers or reinforcement with matrix. Here, we are proposing two methodologies (interconnected or junctions CNTs and Silicon-CNT) which can greatly improve on the interfacial bond between the reinforcement and matrix.

This article appeared in the September–October 2018 issue of Reinforced Plastics.