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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. The objective of this paper is to predict the fiber/matrix interfacial debond strength in composites. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) images of the surface topography of a de-sized carbon fiber reveal that there are surface asperities present at various length scales ranging from a nanometer to several microns. These asperities are likely caused by shrinkage of the polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor during the graphitization process. In order to bridge the length scales, a Fourier series-decomposition covering a range of asperity wavelengths and amplitudes is necessary to effectively capture the roughness of the fiber surface at different length scales. Further, once a surface asperity profile has been resolved into individual subcomponents using Fourier-decomposition, MD simulations can then be employed to obtain the interfacial shear strength of the subcomponent asperity of a given amplitude and wavelength. Finally, by recombining the peak interfacial shear force obtained from each of these subcomponents into the overall shear force for the fiber surface profile, the length-scale -averaged shear strength can be obtained for any given asperity. The objective of this paper is to use this novel approach to determine the interfacial shear strength of de-sized carbon fiber embedded in an epoxy matrix and compare predicted results with experimentalmore »data.« less
  3. Higher-efficiency, lower-cost refrigeration is needed for both large- and small-scale cooling. Refrigerators using entropy changes during cycles of stretching or hydrostatic compression of a solid are possible alternatives to the vapor-compression fridges found in homes. We show that high cooling results from twist changes for twisted, coiled, or supercoiled fibers, including those of natural rubber, nickel titanium, and polyethylene fishing line. Using opposite chiralities of twist and coiling produces supercoiled natural rubber fibers and coiled fishing line fibers that cool when stretched. A demonstrated twist-based device for cooling flowing water provides high cooling energy and device efficiency. Mechanical calculations describe the axial and spring-index dependencies of twist-enhanced cooling and its origin in a phase transformation for polyethylene fibers.
  4. Polymer matrix composites have high strengths in tension. However, their compressive strengths are much lower than their tensile strengths due to their weak fiber/matrix interfacial shear strengths. We recently developed a new approach to fabricate composites by overwrapping individual carbon fibers or fiber tows with a carbon nanotube sheet and subsequently impregnate them into a matrix to enhance the interfacial shear strengths without degrading the tensile strengths of the carbon fibers. In this study, a theoretical analysis is conducted to identify the appropriate thickness of the nanocomposite interphase region formed by carbon nanotubes embedded in a matrix. Fibers are modeled as an anisotropic elastic material, and the nanocomposite interphase region and the matrix are considered as isotropic. A microbuckling problem is solved for the unidirectional composite under compression. The analytical solution is compared with finite element simulations for verification. It is determined that the critical load at the onset of buckling is lower in an anisotropic carbon fiber composite than in an isotropic fibfer composite due to lower transverse properties in the fibers. An optimal thickness for nanocomposite interphase region is determined, and this finding provides a guidance for the manufacture of composites using aligned carbon nanotubes as fillers inmore »the nanocomposite interphase region.« less