The purpose of this paper is to present the mechanical and morphological characterization of new multifunctional carbon fibre-reinforced composites (CFRCs) that are able to overcome two of the main drawbacks of aeronautical composite materials: reduced electrical conductivity and poor flame resistance. Multiwall carbon nanotubes and glycidyl POSS (GPOSS) were used to simultaneously enhance electrical conductivity and flame resistance. The effect of these two combined components on the mechanical and morphological properties of the manufactured CFRCs was analysed.
This paper describes the mechanical test results obtained for interlaminar shear strength, three-point bending, and tensile and fracture toughness in mode I tests. Carbon fibre-reinforced epoxy resin plates were manufactured in two series with blank resin and CNT+flame retardant GPOSS-enhanced resin.
The mechanical properties were decreased by no more than 10 per cent by combined influence of CNTs and GPOSS. Agglomerates of CNTs were observed using scanning electron microscopy. The agglomerates were large enough to be visible to the naked eye as black spots on the delaminated fracture surface. The decrease of the mechanical properties could be caused by these agglomerates or by a changed fibre volume content that was affected by the difficult infusion procedure due to high resin viscosity.
If we consider the benefit of CNTs as a nanofiller to increase electrical conductivity and the GPOSS as a component to increase the flame resistance of the resin, the decrease of strength seems to be insignificant.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 313978. CIRA GROUP is also gratefully acknowledged for manufacturing the composite panels.
Kadlec, M., Hron, R. and Guadagno, L. (2016), "Mechanical properties of a carbon fabric-reinforced epoxy composite with carbon nanotubes and a flame retardant", International Journal of Structural Integrity, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 630-644. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSI-09-2015-0029
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