Simultaneous enhancement of electrical conductivity and interlaminar fracture toughness of carbon fiber/epoxy composites using plasma treated conductive thermoplastic film interleaves

Wei Li, Dong Xiang, Lei Wang, Eileen Harkin-Jones, Chunxia Zhao, Bin Wang, Yuntao Li

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26910-26921
Number of pages12
JournalRSC Advances
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018

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