Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites have been increasingly used to replace metal parts in many industries such as aerospace, marine, automotive, and sporting goods. The CFRP parts compared with their metallic counter parts have the advantages of lightweight, significantly higher tensile strength, stiffer, and corrosion resistant. On the other hand, compared with many metal parts, the CFRP parts have many well-known disadvantages including the lower toughness, lower through-thickness tensile and shear strengths, lower thermal conductivity, lower electrical conductivity, and lower operating temperature. These disadvantages have made the conversion from metal parts into CFRP parts challenging and costly to design, manufacture, and maintain. The use of nanoparticles in polymer has been studied in the recent two decades. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs) have been dispersed in various thermoset and thermoplastic polymers and improved the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties; however, the properties were not comparable to CFRP. Later, researchers tried to infuse CNTs or CNFs into either carbon fiber preforms  or glass fiber preforms  for improving the mechanical properties. But the results were marginal and with great uncertainty due to the challenges of nanoparticle dispersion, filtering, and alignment while being infused through the fiber preform. Themore »
A preliminary investigation of moisture effect on nanofiber z-threaded CFRP prepreg and laminate
Moisture is a known issue for carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) manufacturing. During the process, in which a CFRP prepreg is carefully thawed, cut, stacked, and cured into a laminate, any bad moisture control can cause voids, affect the curing, and degrade the laminate. Recent studies of carbon nanofiber z-threaded CFRP (i.e., ZT-CFRP) prepreg and its laminates showed significant multifunctional improvements in the mechanical strengths, toughness, thermal conductivity, and electrical conductivity. The carbon nanofibers zig-zag thread among the carbon fibers in the through-thickness direction (i.e., z-direction) and mechanically interlock the fiber system together to form an effective 3D-fiber-network reinforced laminate. This paper presents a preliminary experimental study on the ZT-CFRP prepreg when facing the moisture exposure during the prepreg handling and lamination process. Both the ZT-CFRP and traditional CFRP prepregs, subjected to different humidity conditions, will be cut, and cured into laminate samples. The samples will be tested for their interlaminar shear strengths (ILSS) and hardness. Microscope pictures of the samples' fracture patterns will be compared for explaining the combined impact of the moistures and the carbon nanofiber z-threading strategy on the laminates' interlaminar shear strength and curing state.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
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- SAMPE 2022 Conference Proceedings, Charlotte, NA, May 23-26, 2022
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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