Investigation of the effect of single wall carbon nanotubes on interlaminar fracture toughness of woven carbon fiber—epoxy composites Academic Article uri icon


  • Single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were introduced in the interlaminar region of woven carbon fiber-epoxy composites and the mode-I delamination behavior was investigated. Pristine (P-SWCNT) and functionalized (F-SWCNT) nanotubes were sprayed in the mid-plane of these laminates and delamination was initiated using a teflon pre-crack insert. The composite laminates were produced using vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding process. The interlaminar fracture toughness (ILFT) represented by mode-I critical strain energy release rate (GIc) for the initiation of delamination was measured using double cantilever beam tests. The specimens with pristine nanotubes and functionalized nanotubes showed a small effect on the ILFT. The specimens with P-SWCNTs showed stable crack growth and the potential for enhanced crack bridging along with slightly higher GIc than F-SWCNT specimens. Scanning electron microscopy images showed enhanced fiber-matrix interfacial bonding in the specimens with F-SWCNTs. However, large unstable crack propagation was observed in these F-SWCNT specimens from load-displacement curves and crack propagation videos. This research helps in understanding the differences in mechanisms by addition of functionalized and unfunctionalized (pristine) nanotubes to the woven carbon fiber-epoxy matrix composite laminates. © The Author(s) 2011.

author list (cited authors)

  • Thakre, P. R., Lagoudas, D. C., Riddick, J. C., Gates, T. S., Frankland, S., Ratcliffe, J. G., Jiang Zhu, .., & Barrera, E. V.

citation count

  • 73

publication date

  • March 2011