Shear strength and fracture toughness of carbon fibre/epoxy interface: effect of surface treatment

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Textile-reinforced composites have become increasingly attractive as protection materials for various applications, including sports. In such applications it is crucial to maintain both strong adhesion at fibre-matrix interface and high interfacial fracture toughness, which influence mechanical performance of composites as well as their energy-absorption capacity. Surface treatment of reinforcing fibres has been widely used to achieve satisfactory fibre-matrix adhesion. However, most studies till date focused on the overall composite performance rather than on the interface properties of a single fibre/epoxy system. In this study, carbon fibres were treated by mixed acids for different durations, and resulting adhesion strength at the interface between them and epoxy resin as well as their tensile strength were measured in a microbond and microtensile tests, respectively. The interfacial fracture toughness was also analysed. The results show that after an optimum 15-30. min surface treatment, both interfacial shear strength and fracture toughness of the interface were improved alongside with an increased tensile strength of single fibre. However, a prolonged surface treatment resulted in a reduction of both fibre tensile strength and fracture toughness of the interface due to induced surface damage.