Integrating tough Antheraea pernyi silk and strong carbon fibres for impact-critical structural composites.
ABSTRACT: High stiffness and strength carbon fibres are commonly used to reinforce epoxy-resin composites. While wild Antheraea pernyi silk fibres exhibit high toughness originating from their ?-helix/random coil conformation structures and their micro-fibre morphology, their insufficient strength and stiffness hinders them from being used in similar structural composites. In this work, we use interply hybridization of silk and carbon fibres to reinforce epoxy-matrix composites. With increased carbon fibre content, the quasi-static tensile/flexural stiffness and strength increases following the rule of mixtures while more silk fibre acts to increase ductility and impact strength. This results in a composite comprising equal volumes of carbon and silk fibres achieving an impact strength of 98?kJ?m-2, which is twice that of purely carbon-fibre reinforced composites (44?kJ?m-2). This work shows tough natural silk fibres and strong synthetic fibres can be successfully integrated into epoxy-resin composites for tailored mechanical properties.
Project description:Growing environmental concerns and stringent waste-flow regulations make the development of sustainable composites a current industrial necessity. Natural fibre reinforcements are derived from renewable resources and are both cheap and biodegradable. When they are produced using eco-friendly, low hazard processes, then they can be considered as a sustainable source of fibrous reinforcement. Furthermore, their specific mechanical properties are comparable to commonly used, non-environmentally friendly glass-fibres. In this study, four types of abundant natural fibres (jute, kenaf, curaua, and flax) are investigated as naturally-derived constituents for high performance composites. Physical, thermal, and mechanical properties of the natural fibres are examined to evaluate their suitability as discontinuous reinforcements whilst also generating a database for material selection. Single fibre tensile and microbond tests were performed to obtain stiffness, strength, elongation, and interfacial shear strength of the fibres with an epoxy resin. Moreover, the critical fibre lengths of the natural fibres, which are important for defining the mechanical performances of discontinuous and short fibre composites, were calculated for the purpose of possible processing of highly aligned discontinuous fibres. This study is informative regarding the selection of the type and length of natural fibres for the subsequent production of discontinuous fibre composites.
Project description:Strong and tough epoxy composites are developed using a less-studied fibre reinforcement, that of natural silk. Two common but structurally distinct silks from the domestic B. mori/Bm and the wild A. pernyi/Ap silkworms are selected in fabric forms. We show that the toughening effects on silk-epoxy composites or SFRPs are dependent on the silk species and the volume fraction of silk. Both silks enhance the room-temperature tensile and flexural mechanical properties of the composite, whereas the more resilient Ap silk shows a more pronounced toughening effect and a lower critical reinforcement volume for the brittle-ductile transition. Specifically, our 60 vol.% Ap-SFRP displays a three-fold elevation in tensile and flexural strength, as compared to pure epoxy resin, with an order of magnitude higher breaking energy via a distinct, ductile failure mode. Importantly, the 60 vol.% Ap-SFRP remains ductile with 7% flexural elongation at lower temperatures (-50?°C). Under impact, these SFRPs show significantly improved energy absorption, and the 60 vol.% Ap-SFRP has an impact strength some eight times that of pure epoxy resin. The findings demonstrate both marked toughening and strengthening effects for epoxy composites from natural silk reinforcements, which presents opportunities for mechanically superior and "green" structural composites.
Project description:Silks are protein-based natural structured materials with an unusual combination of high strength and elongation. Their unique microstructural features composed of hard ?-sheet crystals aligned within a soft amorphous region lead to the robust properties of silks. Herein we report a large enhancement in the intrinsic properties of silk through the transformation of the basic building blocks into a poly-hexagonal carbon structure by a simple heat treatment with axial stretching. The carbon clusters originating from the ?-sheet retain the preferred orientation along the fibre axis, resulting in a long-range-ordered graphitic structure by increasing heat-treatment temperatures and leading improvements in mechanical properties with a maximum strength and modulus up to ?2.6 and ?470?GPa, respectively, almost four and thirty times surpassing those of raw silk. Moreover, the formation of sp <sup>2</sup> carbon configurations induce a significant change in the electrical properties (e.g. an electrical conductivity up to 4.37?×?10<sup>3</sup>?S?cm<sup>-1</sup>).The mechanical properties of silk are determined by tight stacks of sheet-like peptide crystals distributed in amorphous regions. Here, the authors heat and stretch silk fibres to align these crystal into a long range ordered carbon structure and dramatically enhance the silk strength.
Project description:Classical field retting and controlled fungal retting of hemp using Phlebia radiata Cel 26 (a mutant with low cellulose degrading ability) were compared with pure pectinase treatment with regard to mechanical properties of the produced fibre/epoxy composites. For field retting a classification of the microbial evolution (by gene sequencing) and enzyme profiles were conducted. By phylogenetic frequency mapping, different types of fungi, many belonging to the Ascomycota phylum were found on the fibres during the first 2 weeks of field retting, and thereafter, different types of bacteria, notably Proteobacteria, also proliferated on the field retted fibres. Extracts from field retted fibres exhibited high glucanase activities, while extracts from P. radiata Cel 26 retted fibres showed high polygalacturonase and laccase activities. As a result, fungal retting gave a significantly higher glucan content in the fibres than field retting (77 vs. 67%) and caused a higher removal of pectin as indicated by lower galacturonan content of fibres (1.6%) after fibres were retted for 20 days with P. radiata Cel 26 compared to a galacturonan content of 3.6% for field retted fibres. Effective fibre stiffness increased slightly after retting with P. radiata Cel 26 from 65 to 67 GPa, while it decreased after field retting to 52 GPa. Effective fibre strength could not be determined similarly due to variations in fibre fracture strain and fibre-matrix adhesion. A maximum composite strength with 50 vol% fibres of 307 MPa was obtained using P. radiata Cel 26 compared to 248 MPa with field retting.
Project description:Natural fibres have a high potential as reinforcement of polymer matrices, as they combine a high specific strength and modulus with sustainable production and reasonable prices. Modifying the fibre surface is a common method to increase the adhesion and thereby enhance the mechanical properties of composites. In this study, a novel sustainable surface treatment is presented: the fungal enzyme laccase was utilised with the aim of covalently binding the coupling agent dopamine to flax fibre surfaces. The goal is to improve the interfacial strength towards an epoxy matrix. SEM and AFM micrographs showed that the modification changes the surface morphology, indicating a deposition of dopamine on the surface. Fibre tensile tests, which were performed to check whether the fibre structure was damaged during the treatment, showed that no decrease in tensile strength or modulus occurred. Single fibre pullout tests showed a 30% increase in interfacial shear strength (IFSS) due to the laccase-mediated bonding of the coupling agent dopamine. These results demonstrate that a laccase + dopamine treatment modifies flax fibres sustainably and increases the interfacial strength towards epoxy.
Project description:A novel method based on selective laser sintering (SLS) process is proposed for the first time to prepare complex and high-performance carbon fibres/polyamide12/epoxy (CF/PA12/EP) ternary composites. The procedures are briefly described as follows: prepare polyamide12 (PA12) coated carbon fibre (CF) composite powder; build porous green parts by SLS; infiltrate the green parts with high-performance thermosetting epoxy (EP) resin; and finally cure the resin at high temperature. The obtained composites are a ternary composite system consisting of the matrix of novolac EP resin, the reinforcement of CFs and the transition thin layer of PA12 with a thickness of 595?nm. The SEM images and micro-CT analysis prove that the ternary system is a three-dimensional co-continuous structure and the reinforcement of CFs are well dispersed in the matrix of EP with the volume fraction of 31%. Mechanical tests show that the composites fabricated by this method yield an ultimate tensile strength of 101.03?MPa and a flexural strength of 153.43?MPa, which are higher than those of most of the previously reported SLS materials. Therefore, the process proposed in this paper shows great potential for manufacturing complex, lightweight and high-performance CF reinforced composite components in aerospace, automotive industries and other areas.
Project description:This work describes flax fibre reinforced polymeric composites with recent developments. The properties of flax fibres, as well as advanced fibre treatments such as mercerization, silane treatment, acylation, peroxide treatment and coatings for the enhancement of flax/matrix incompatibility are presented. The characteristic properties and characterizations of flax composites on various polymers including polypropylene (PP) and polylactic acid, epoxy, bio-epoxy and bio-phenolic resin are discussed. A brief overview is also given on the recent nanotechnology applied in flax composites.
Project description:Repeatable patient positioning is key to minimising the burden on planning radiotherapy treatment. There are very few materials commercially available which are suitable for use in all common imaging and treatment modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-Ray computed tomography (CT) and radiotherapy. In this article, we present several such materials based on woven natural fibres embedded in a range of different resin materials which are suitable for such applications. By investigating a range of resins and natural fibre materials in combination and evaluating their performance in terms of MRI and X-Ray imaging, we show that a woven cotton material impregnated with a two-part epoxy resin provides a 15% improvement in passage of X-Rays and has no impact on the MRI signal (unlike the 40% MRI signal attenuation from carbon fibre), whilst also retaining a flexural modulus up to 71% of that of carbon fibre. These results demonstrate that natural fibre composites produced using such materials provide desirable properties for use in patient support and positioning devices for multi-modal imaging, without the need to significantly compromise on the strength of the material.
Project description:Bio-composites based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and fibres of Posidonia oceanica (PO) were investigated to assess their processability by extrusion, mechanical properties, and potential biodegradability in a natural marine environment. PHAs were successfully compounded with PO fibres up to 20 wt % while, at 30 wt % of fibres, the addition of 10 wt % of polyethylene glycol (PEG 400) was necessary to improve their processability. Thermal, rheological, mechanical, and morphological characterizations of the developed composites were conducted and the degradation of composite films in a natural marine habitat was evaluated in a mesocosm by weight loss measure during an incubation period of six months. The addition of PO fibres led to an increase in stiffness of the composites with tensile modulus values about 80% higher for composites with 30 wt % fibre (2.3 GPa) compared to unfilled material (1.24 GPa). Furthermore, the impact energy markedly increased with the addition of the PO fibres, from 1.63 (unfilled material) to 3.8 kJ/m² for the composites with 30 wt % PO. The rate of degradation was markedly influenced by seawater temperature and significantly promoted by the presence of PO fibres leading to the total degradation of the film with 30 wt % PO in less than six months. The obtained results showed that the developed composites can be suitable to manufacture items usable in marine environments, for example, in natural engineering interventions, and represent an interesting valorisation of the PO fibrous wastes accumulated in large amounts on coastal beaches.
Project description:Reinforcement of flexible fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) composites with standard textile fibres is a potential low cost solution to less critical loading applications. The mechanical behaviour of FRPs based on mechanically bonded nonwoven preforms composed of either low or high modulus fibres in a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrix were compared following compression moulding. Nonwoven preform fibre compositions were selected from lyocell, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) as well as para-aramid fibres (polyphenylene terephthalamide; PPTA). Reinforcement with standard fibres manifold improved the tensile modulus and strength of the reinforced composites and the relationship between fibre, fabric and composite's mechanical properties was studied. The linear density of fibres and the punch density, a key process variable used to consolidate the nonwoven preform, were varied to study the influence on resulting FRP mechanical properties. In summary, increasing the strength and degree of consolidation of nonwoven preforms did not translate to an increase in the strength of resulting fibre reinforced TPU-composites. The TPU composite strength was mainly dependent upon constituent fibre stress-strain behaviour and fibre segment orientation distribution.