Composites with sustainable natural fibers are currently experiencing remarkably diversified applications, including in engineering industries, owing to their lower cost and density as well as ease in processing. Among the natural fibers, the fiber extracted from the leaves of the Amazonian curaua plant (Ananas erectifolius
) is a promising strong candidate to replace synthetic fibers, such as aramid (Kevlar™), in multilayered armor system (MAS) intended for ballistic protection against level III high velocity ammunition. Another remarkable material, the graphene oxide is attracting considerable attention for its properties, especially as coating to improve the interfacial adhesion in polymer composites. Thus, the present work investigates the performance of graphene oxide coated curaua fiber (GOCF) reinforced epoxy composite, as a front ceramic MAS second layer in ballistic test against level III 7.62 mm ammunition. Not only GOCF composite with 30 vol% fibers attended the standard ballistic requirement with 27.4 ± 0.3 mm of indentation comparable performance to Kevlar™ 24 ± 7 mm with same thickness, but also remained intact, which was not the case of non-coated curaua fiber similar composite. Mechanisms of ceramic fragments capture, curaua fibrils separation, curaua fiber pullout, composite delamination, curaua fiber braking, and epoxy matrix rupture were for the first time discussed as a favorable combination in a MAS second layer to effectively dissipate the projectile impact energy.
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