An investigation of Mode I and Mode II fracture toughness enhancement using aligned carbon nanotubes forests at the crack interface

Brian G. Falzon, Stephen C. Hawkins, Chi P. Huynh, Racim Radjef, Callum Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

A novel approach for introducing aligned multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in a carbon-fibre composite pre-impregnated (prepreg) laminate, to improve the through-thickness fracture toughness, is presented. Carbon nanotube (CNT) 'forests' were grown on a silicon substrate with a thermal oxide layer, using a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) process. The forests were then transferred to a pre-cured laminate interface, using a combination of pressure and heat, while maintaining through-thickness CNT alignment. Standard Mode I and four-point bend end-notched flexure Mode II tests were undertaken on a set of specimens and compared with pristine specimens. Mode I fracture toughness for T700/M21 laminates was improved by an average of 31% while for T700/SE84LV specimens, an improvement of 61% was observed. Only T700/M21 specimens were tested in Mode II which yielded an average fracture toughness improvement of 161%. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) showed good wetting of the CNT forest as well as evidence of penetration of the forest into the adjacent plies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalComposite Structures
Volume106
Early online date10 Jun 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • carbon nanotubes
  • composite materials
  • structural failure
  • mode I testing
  • mode II testing
  • fracture toughness

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