Multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)-doped polyamide 12 (PA12) films with various nanofiller loadings were prepared via a solution casting method to simultaneously improve the electrical conductivity and fracture toughness of carbon fiber/epoxy (CF/EP) composites. The films were interleaved between CF/EP prepreg layers and melted to bond with the matrix during the curing process. To improve the interfacial compatibility and adhesion between the conductive thermoplastic films (CTFs) and the epoxy matrix, the CTFs were perforated and then subjected to a low temperature oxygen plasma treatment before interleaving. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra results confirm that oxygen-containing functional groups were introduced on the surface of the CTFs, and experimental results demonstrate that the electrical conductivity of the laminates was significantly improved. There was a 2-fold increase in the transverse direction electrical conductivity of the laminate with 0.7 wt% MWCNT loading and a 21-fold increase in the through-thickness direction. Double cantilever beam (DCB) tests demonstrated that the Mode-I fracture toughness (GIC) and resistance (GIR) of the same laminates significantly increased by 59% and 113%, respectively. Enhancements of both interlaminar fracture toughness and electrical conductivity are mainly attributed to the strong interfacial adhesion achieved after plasma treatment and to the bridging effect of the carbon nanotubes.
Li, W., Xiang, D., Wang, L., Harkin-Jones, E., Zhao, C., Wang, B., & Li, Y. (2018). Simultaneous enhancement of electrical conductivity and interlaminar fracture toughness of carbon fibre/epoxy composites using plasma treated conductive thermoplastic interleaves. RSC Advances. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8ra05366a