Enhancing the mechanical properties of composite materials

Plasma treatment of the mechanical properties of composite materials

Feature Article - Enhancing the mechanical properties of composite materials

Read about how plasmas can be used to enhance the mechanical properties of carbon nano-fibre composite materials.

The Reinforcement Ability of Plasma-Etched Carbon Nanofibers on Mechanical Properties of C-Epoxy Composites

Courtesy of Killi Krushnamurty1, Pappireddy Manoj Kumar Reddy1, Ivaturi Srikanth1,2, Pinnelli S. R. Prasad3, Partha Ghosal4 and Challapalli Subrahmanyam1,* Version of Record online: 7 APR 2014 DOI: 10.1002/ppap.201400014 © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

Carbon nanofibers (CNFs) are plasma etched by using cold plasma of helium and air for different time durations. Changes in surface characteristics of CNFs due to plasma treatment was studied with Raman spectroscopy, BET surface area analyzer, and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Raman spectroscopic studies show ed that, plasma treatment is imparting enhanced degree of disorder for CNFs.  While AFM studies indicated enhancement in the surface roughness due to plasma treatment. Laminated (2D) carbon fiber reinforced epoxy matrix (C-epoxy) composites were fabricated with the addition of 0.5 wt% of plasma-etched CNFs an d evaluated the mechanical properties of the prep ared compos ites. Results indicat e that, plasma-etched CNFs can improve the mechanical properties of CFRPs significantly as compared to untreated CNFs.

1. Introduction

Research efforts are going on to enhance the mechanical properties of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) especially carbon-epoxy (C-epoxy) composites by using carbon nanofibers (CNFs) as additional reinforcements, as they are reported to posses good mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties, which are required for composites. [1–3] However, the inert nature of the carbonaceous surface of CNFs leads to low levels of the stress transfer between the matrix to the CNFs. Lack of surface compatibility with the matrix is generally overcome by using chemical functionalization methods, which generates compatible surface functional groups on the CNF surface, which ensures their integration with the matrix. [4–7] Though there is considerable success in improving the  interfacial compatibility of the CNFs with polymer matrices with chemical functionalization methods, the methods are generally too lengthy with possible problems of environmental pollution.

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