Special Issue "Smart Reinforced Composites Using Carbon and Carbon-Based Nanomaterials"

A special issue of Fibers (ISSN 2079-6439).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Elias P. Koumoulos

R-NanoLab - Research Unit of Advanced, Composite, Nano Materials & Nanotechnology, National Technical University of Athens, School of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering Department 9 Heroon Polytechniou St., Zographos, Athens, Greece GR-157 73
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: carbon; nanomaterials; fibres; nanomechanical properties of materials (composites, metals, alloys, polymers, ceramics, functionally graded materials, thin films, elastomers, packaging polymers); smart polymers and composites; environmentally-friendly processes
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Costas Charitidis

Research Lab of Advanced, Composite, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +302107724046
Interests: materials science; nanotechnology; nanomaterials processing; carbon-based materials; microstructure-property relationship; thin film technology (PVD, CVD); contact mechanics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Current technological demands are increasingly stretching the properties of advanced composite materials to expand their applications to more severe or extreme conditions, while, simultaneously, seeking cost-effective production processes and final products. The aim is to demonstrate the influence of different surface enhancing and modification techniques on carbon nanotube (CNT) composite based materials and fillers for high value and high performance applications. These materials are a route to further exploiting advanced materials, using enabling technologies for additional functionalities, without compromising structural integrity. Carbon fiber (CF) based materials have particular advantages of due to their mechanical and electrical properties. Current generation of carbon fibers have extensively been used in a multitude of applications, taking advantage of their valuable properties to provide solutions in complex problems of materials science and technology; however the limits of capability of current technology are now being reached. Although, the global use of fiber-based composites have significantly grown in the past decade, there are still expectations to use them as an alternative (also with proper CNT modification, both in matrix and filler material) to metals in high value, and heavy engineering applications to provide light weight multi-functionality, high structural integrity and enhanced safety.

This Special Issue covers a large scope of research in the area of carbon nanotube (CNT) composite based materials and fillers, and solicits contributions in,but not limited to the key words of the special issue.

Dr. Elias P. Koumoulos
Prof. Dr. Costas Charitidis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fibers is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Carbon nanotube-based structures
  • Carbon nanofiber-based structures
  • Graphene and graphene oxide
  • Textile and woven-structure composites
  • Nano-enabled prepregs and modified resins
  • High performance fiber-based structures with multi-functionalities (i.e., enhanced mechanical properties, electrical conductivity, thermal stability, flexibility)
  • Smart composites
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Manufacturing: upscale and regulation
  • Life Cycle Assessment

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Integrity of Carbon-Fibre Epoxy Composites through a Nanomechanical Mapping Protocol towards Quality Assurance
Fibers 2018, 6(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib6040078
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 25 September 2018 / Accepted: 2 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to assess the integrity of carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) comprising of commercial and surface modified CFs through nanomechanical mapping protocol, towards the feasibility of nanoindentation tool as a quality assurance means in a composite manufacturing process. Carbon
[...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to assess the integrity of carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) comprising of commercial and surface modified CFs through nanomechanical mapping protocol, towards the feasibility of nanoindentation tool as a quality assurance means in a composite manufacturing process. Carbon fibre surface modification was selected for enhancement of the wetting properties of carbon fibres in order to improve the adhesion force between the fibre and the polymer matrix. In all cases, epoxy resin was used as a matrix for the manufacturing of composite samples. Plastic deformation/elastic recovery were recorded (together with viscoelasticity and adhesion-discontinuities and fluctuations during measurement), while elastic modulus values are also mapped. Moreover, the resistance to applied load is assessed and compared for all cases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of Electrophoretic Deposition Prototype for Continuous Production of Carbon Nanotube-Modified Carbon Fiber Fabrics Used in High-Performance Multifunctional Composites
Fibers 2018, 6(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib6040071
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
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Abstract
An electrophoretic deposition (EPD) prototype was developed aiming at the continuous production of carbon nanotube (CNT) deposited carbon fiber fabric. Such multi-scale reinforcement was used to manufacture carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites. The overall objective was to improve the mechanical performance and functionalities
[...] Read more.
An electrophoretic deposition (EPD) prototype was developed aiming at the continuous production of carbon nanotube (CNT) deposited carbon fiber fabric. Such multi-scale reinforcement was used to manufacture carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites. The overall objective was to improve the mechanical performance and functionalities of CFRP composites. In the current study, the design concept and practical limit of the continuous EPD prototype, as well as the flexural strength and interlaminar shear strength, were the focus. Initial mechanical tests showed that the flexural stiffness and strength of composites with the developed reinforcement were significantly reduced with respect to the composites with pristine reinforcement. However, optical microscopy study revealed that geometrical imperfections, such as waviness and misalignment, had been introduced into the reinforcement fibers and/or bundles when being pulled through the EPD bath, collected on a roll, and dried. These defects are likely to partly or completely shadow any enhancement of the mechanical properties due to the CNT deposit. In order to eliminate the effect of the discovered defects, the pristine reinforcement was subjected to the same EPD treatment, but without the addition of CNT in the EPD bath. When compared with such water-treated reinforcement, the CNT-deposited reinforcement clearly showed a positive effect on the flexural properties and interlaminar shear strength of the composites. It was also discovered that CNTs agglomerate with time under the electric field due to the change of ionic density, which is possibly due to the electrolysis of water (for carboxylated CNT aqueous suspension without surfactant) or the deposition of ionic surfactant along with CNT deposition (for non-functionalized CNT aqueous suspension with surfactant). Currently, this sets time limits for the continuous deposition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Reinforcement Systems for Carbon Concrete Composites Based on Low-Cost Carbon Fibers
Fibers 2018, 6(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib6030056
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (11146 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Carbon concrete polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/lignin-based carbon fiber (CF) composites are a new promising material class for the building industry. The replacement of the traditional heavy and corroding steel reinforcement by carbon fiber (CF)-based reinforcements offers many significant advantages: a higher protection of environmental resources
[...] Read more.
Carbon concrete polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/lignin-based carbon fiber (CF) composites are a new promising material class for the building industry. The replacement of the traditional heavy and corroding steel reinforcement by carbon fiber (CF)-based reinforcements offers many significant advantages: a higher protection of environmental resources because of lower CO2 consumption during cement production, a longer lifecycle and thus, much less damage to structural components and a higher degree of design freedom because lightweight solutions can be realized. However, due to cost pressure in civil engineering, completely new process chains are required to manufacture CF-based reinforcement structures for concrete. This article describes the necessary process steps in order to develop CF reinforcement: (1) the production of cost-effective CF using novel carbon fiber lines, and (2) the fabrication of CF rebars with different geometry profiles. It was found that PAN/lignin-based CF is currently the promising material with the most promise to meet future market demands. However, significant research needs to be undertaken in order to improve the properties of lignin-based and PAN/lignin-based CF, respectively. The CF can be manufactured to CF-based rebars using different manufacturing technologies which are developed at a prototype level in this study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Interface Characterization of Epoxy Resin Nanocomposites: A Molecular Dynamics Approach
Fibers 2018, 6(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib6030054
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
In polymer nanocomposites, the interface region between the matrix and the fillers has been identified as a key interaction region that strongly determines the properties of the final material. Determining its structure is crucial from several points of view, from modeling (i.e., properties
[...] Read more.
In polymer nanocomposites, the interface region between the matrix and the fillers has been identified as a key interaction region that strongly determines the properties of the final material. Determining its structure is crucial from several points of view, from modeling (i.e., properties prediction) to materials science (i.e., understanding properties/structure relationships). In the presented paper, a method for characterizing the interface region of polymer nanocomposites is described using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. In particular, the structure of the polymer within the interface region together with its dimension in terms of thickness were analyzed through density profiles. Epoxy resin nanocomposites based on diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) were studied using this approach, and the interface region with triple walled carbon nanotubes (TWCNT) and carbon fibers (CF) was characterized. The effect of carbon nanotube diameter, type of hardener, and effect of epoxy resin cross-linking degree on interface thickness were analyzed using MD models. From this analysis no general rule on the effect of these parameters on the interface thickness could be established, since in some cases overlapping effects between the analyzed parameters were observed, and each specific case needs to be analyzed independently in detail. Results show that the diameter has an impact on interface thickness, but this effect is affected by the cross-linking degree of the epoxy resin. The type of hardener also has a certain influence on the interface thickness. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type: Article
Title: Effect of Organosolv Lignin Melt Blended with Polyamide 11 or Polyether Block Amide
Author: Teddy Fournier 1, Philippe Poulin 2,* and Alain Derre 2
Affiliation: 1  CANOE : Composites en Aquitaine et Nanostructures OrganiquEs Cheminnov – ENSCBP 16 avenue Pey Berland 33600 Pessac, France; fournier@plateforme-canoe.com, Tel.: +33 (0)54017 5023
2  Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal – CNRS University of Bordeaux 115 avenue Schweitzer 33600 Pessac, France; e-mail@e-mail.com
*  Correspondence: poulin@crpp-bordeaux.cnrs.fr; Tel.: +33 (0)5 5684 3028
Abstract: Environmentally friendly technical polymer alloy of various proportions of polyamides and lignin have been prepared using a twin-screw extruder. The properties of Polyamide 11 or Peba (PolyEther Block Amide) and Hardwood Organosolv Lignin (HLO) blends were investigated by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Static/Dynamical Mechanical Analysis (DMA) over the entire range of composition. Calorimetry and DMA analysis show variation of glass transition temperature (Tg) between Pebax and lignin although PA11 and lignin maintain their both Tg. However, mechanical and image analysis show interesting properties when integrating about 20-30% lignin into PA11 and good stretching capability when lignin is added up to 30-40% into Pebax. These lignin-based polymer blends can be used as precursor formulation for manufacturing cost-effective carbon fibers.
Keywords: Lignin – bioreffinery – renewable – melt spinning – Polyamides – Fibers – Carbon - Precursor

Type: Article
Title: Interphase characterization of epoxy resin nanocomposites: a molecular dynamics approach
Author: C. Saenz, M. Laspalas, A. Chiminelli, F. Serrano and C. Valero
Affiliation: ITAINNOVA - Aragon Institute of Technology, María de Luna 7, 50014, Zaragoza, Spain
Abstract: In the past few years, carbon-based nanocomposites has attracted remarkably increasing interest owing to what they offer in terms of improvement of thermal, electrical and mechanical properties. Due to their nanoscale size, huge aspect ratio and surface area, the addition of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs) can notably modify the properties of polymers. As reinforcements, the final behaviour of the composites is strongly affected by the size, structure and the mechanical properties of the interphases generated bewteen the CNTs/CFs and the polymer matrices. However, characterizing these parameters/properties is not straightforward, and no agreement exists about which characterization method is the best one. In addition, generally the techniques should be considered complementary, and a complete characterization usually requires applying more than one method. In this sense, techniques based on computational modelling are identified as powerful analysis/characterization tools alternative to the experimental ones and particularly helpful to increase the understanding of physical/chemical phenomena and materials responses. In the present study, a method for characterizing interphase regions in polymer nanocomposites based on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations is described. Through density profiles the structure of polymer within the interphase together with its dimension in terms of thickness can be obtained. The interphase thickness is calculated through the accumulated standard deviation profiles. Epoxy resin nanocomposites based on diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) are studied using this approach, and the interphase regions with triple walled carbon nanotubes (TWCNT) and carbon fibers (CF) are characterized. The influences of carbon nanotube diameter, type of hardener and the effect of cross-linking on interphase thickness are analyzed using MD. Results show that the diameter has a notable impact on interphase thickness, but this effect is affected upon the cross-linking degree of the epoxy resin. The type of hardener also has certain influence on this parameter.

Type: Article
Title:
Highly Conductive Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite Electronic Box out-of-autoclave Manufacturing for Space Applications
Authors:
Marta Martins 1, Rui Gomes 1, Luís Pina 1, Olaf Reichmann 2, Danielle Teti 3, Nuno Rocha 1,*
Affiliations:
1 INEGI - Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
2 HPS GmbH - High Performance Space Structure Systems
3 ESA ESTEC - European Space Research and Technology Centre
* Correspondence: nrocha@inegi.up.pt; Tel.: +351 229578710
Abstract:
One of the main advantages of CFRP electronic housings, when compared with traditionally used aluminum ones, is the potential in mass savings, resulting in significant reductions of launch costs. In recent years, the power consumption of electronics has been growing, causing the need for higher thermal dissipation of electronics, which require the use of highly thermally conducting materials. In this work, we report the manufacturing of a highly conductive CFRP electronic housing. Due to the significantly higher material costs, the total electronic box costs were minimized by using an out-of-the autoclave manufacturing process. Due to the inherent low thermal conductivity of typical raw-materials used in composite materials, strategies were evaluated to increase its value by changing the components used. The use of pitch-based carbon fibres was found a very promising solution. In addition, structural and thermal box design and manufacturing conditions were developed. Improved performance was demonstrated from materials manufacturing to final breadboard testing. The results indicate possible gains of 23% in mass when compared to conventional aluminium electronic boxes.
Keywords:
electronic box; CFRP; Space

Type: Article
Title: Reinforcement systems for carbon concrete composites based on low-cost carbon fibers
Authors: Robert Böhm 1,*, Mike Thieme 1, Daniel Wohlfahrt 1, Daniel S. Wolz 1, Benjamin Richter 1 and Hubert Jäger 1
Affiliation: 1 Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology, Technische Universität Dresden, Holbeinstraße 3, 01307 Dresden, Germany
* Correspondence: robert.boehm@tu-dresden.de; Tel.: +49-351-463-38080
Abstract: Carbon concrete composites are a new promising material class for the building industry. The replacement of the traditional heavy and corroding steel reinforcement by carbon fiber (CF) based reinforcement offers many significant advantages: a higher protection of environmental resources because of lower CO2 consumption during cement production, a longer lifecycle and thus muss less damage in structural components and a higher degree of design freedom because lightweight solutions can be realized. However, due to cost pressure in civil engineering, completely new process chains are required to manufacture CF based reinforcement structures for concrete. The article describes the necessary process steps in order to develop CF reinforcement: (1) the production of cost-effective CF using novel carbon fiber lines, (2) the fabrication of CF rods with different geometry profiles and (3) the manufacturing of the CF based concrete itself. It was found that Lignin-based CF is currently the most promising material in order to meet the future market demands. However, significant research needs to be undertaken in order to improve the properties of Lignin-based CF. The CF can be manufactured to CF-based rods using a novel patented manufacturing technology for thermoplastic materials called ‘helix pultrusion’.
Keywords: carbon concrete composites; low-cost carbon fibres; pultrusion 

Type: Article
Title: High-Performance Multifunctional Composites Reinforced with CNT-coated Carbon Fiber Fabric Produced by Continuous EPD Process
Authors: Guan Gong 1,*, Birgitha Nyström 1, Erik Sandlund 1 , Daniel Eklund 1, Maxime Noël1, Robert Westerlund1, Liva Pupure 1,2, Andrejs Pupurs 1,2 and Roberts Joffe 1,2
Affiliation:
1 Swerea SICOMP AB, Box 271, SE 941 26, Piteå, Sweden
2 Luleå University of Technology, SE 971 87, Luleå, Sweden
* Correspondence: Guan.Gong@swerea.se; Tel.: +46-911-74416
Abstract: A newly developed and scaled up continuous electrophoretic deposition (EPD) setup was employed for deposition of carbon nano-tubes (CNT) onto carbon fiber fabric. This multi-scale reinforcement was used to manufacture polymer composites with the objective to improve fracture toughness as well as enhance electrical and thermal conductivity of materials. Comprehensive characterization of thermos-mechanical properties of unidirectional and multi-axial laminates along with microscopy was carried out. Initial mechanical tests showed that the flexural stiffness and strength of composites with multi-scale reinforcement are significantly reduced with higher decrease for higher contents of nano-reinforcement. Analysis of these results along with optical microscopy revealed that due to change of permeability of the nano-doped reinforcement the geometrical imperfections have been introduced into composite during the processing. These defects (e.g. fiber or bundle waviness and misalignment) are likely to shadow (or completely diminish) enhancement of mechanical properties due to addition of CNT. Thus, suitable carbon fiber fabric should be selected for the manufacturing of multi-scale reinforcement and fabric has to be secured in the mold during the processing of composites. In order to separate effect of defects on micro- and meso- scale (fiber/bundle misalignment) from improvement of properties by nano-reinforcement, the reference fabric was subjected to the same treatment as modified reinforcement (but without addition of CNT). The improvement of performance of multi-scale composites was observed when material with reference-treated fabric is compared against composites with CNT-modified fabric. The results showed that addition of nano-scale reinforcement into conventional micro-sized fabric improves toughness of composites by increasing interlaminar shear strength and delaying initiation/propagation of micro-cracks.
Keywords: electrophoretic deposition; carbon nanotube; multi-scale carbon reinforcement; multifunctional composites

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