Special Issue "Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Luke Henderson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Frontier Materials, Carbon Nexus, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Interests: carbon fiber compsoites; surface modification; interface analysis; organic synthesis; ionic liquids
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Carbon fiber is synonymous with high performance. It is a key material in the reduction of CO2 emissions via light-weighting mass transport vehicles, often thought of as an alternative to traditional structural materials, such as metals. Despite being around for decades, carbon fibers themselves and their composites are still an extremely active area of research, spanning from fiber production through to their large-scale application in the aerospace industry. The study and characterization of the fibers, resins, fiber-matrix interactions, nano-fillers, and novel resins all contribute to a larger tapestry of understanding towards the factors defining the performance of composite materials.

This Special Issue will focus on recent work that focuses on advancing the performance of carbon fiber composites. Topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Fiber characterization using novel techniques
  • Interface analysis and fiber-to-matrix adhesion
  • Chemical Modifications of resins, sizings, or fibers and effect on performance
  • Non-structural applications of carbon fiber

Assoc. Prof. Luke Henderson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 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 Fiber
  • Composites
  • Interfacial Adhesion
  • Characterization
  • Mechanical Properties
  • Sizing and Surface Treatment
  • Resins

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A New Way of Toughening of Thermoset by Dual-Cured Thermoplastic/Thermosetting Blend
Materials 2019, 12(3), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12030548 - 12 Feb 2019
Abstract
The work aims at establishing the optimum conditions for dual thermal and electron beam curing of thermosetting systems modified by styrene/butadiene (SB)-based triblock copolymers in order to develop transparent and toughened materials. The work also investigates the effects of curing procedures on the [...] Read more.
The work aims at establishing the optimum conditions for dual thermal and electron beam curing of thermosetting systems modified by styrene/butadiene (SB)-based triblock copolymers in order to develop transparent and toughened materials. The work also investigates the effects of curing procedures on the ultimate phase morphology and mechanical properties of these thermoset–SB copolymer blends. It was found that at least 46 mol% of the epoxidation degree of the SB copolymer was needed to enable the miscibility of the modified block copolymer into the epoxy resin. Hence, an electron beam curing dose of ~50 kGy was needed to ensure the formation of micro- and nanostructured transparent blends. The micro- and nanophase-separated thermosets obtained were analyzed by optical as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The mechanical properties of the blends were enhanced as shown by their impact strengths, indentation, hardness, and fracture toughness analyses, whereby the toughness values were found to mainly depend on the dose. Thus, we have developed a new route for designing dual-cured toughened micro- and nanostructured transparent epoxy thermosets with enhanced fracture toughness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of an FE Model for the Design of a Complex Thin-Wall CFRP Structure for a Scientific Instrument
Materials 2019, 12(3), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12030489 - 05 Feb 2019
Abstract
In this paper, the reliability of a finite element (FE) model including carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) is evaluated for a case of a complex thin-wall honeycomb structure designed for a scientific instrument, such as a calorimeter. Mechanical calculations were performed using FE models [...] Read more.
In this paper, the reliability of a finite element (FE) model including carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) is evaluated for a case of a complex thin-wall honeycomb structure designed for a scientific instrument, such as a calorimeter. Mechanical calculations were performed using FE models including CFRPs, which required a specific definition to describe the micro-mechanical behaviour of the orthotropic materials coupled to homogeneous ones. There are well-known commercial software packages used as powerful tools for analyzing structures; however, for complex (many-parts) structures, the models become largely time consuming for both definition and calculation, which limits the appropriate feedback for the structure’s design. This study introduces a method to reduce a highly nonlinear model, including CFRPs, into a robust, simplified and realistic FE model capable of describing the deformations of the structure with known uncertainties. Therefore, to calculate the deviations of our model, displacement measurements in a reduced mechanical setup were performed, and then a variety of FE models were studied with the objective to find the simplest model with reliable results. The approach developed in this work leads to concluding that the deformations evaluated, including the uncertainties, were below the actual production tolerances, which makes the proposed model a successful tool for the designing process. Ultimately, this study serves as a future reference for complex projects requiring intensive mechanical evaluations for designing decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
From Design to Manufacture of a Carbon Fiber Monocoque for a Three-Wheeler Vehicle Prototype
Materials 2019, 12(3), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12030332 - 22 Jan 2019
Abstract
This paper describes the design process of the monocoque for IDRAkronos, a three-wheeler hydrogen prototype focused on fuel efficiency, made to compete at the Shell Eco-Marathon event. The vehicle takes advantage of the lightweight and high mechanical performance of carbon fiber to achieve [...] Read more.
This paper describes the design process of the monocoque for IDRAkronos, a three-wheeler hydrogen prototype focused on fuel efficiency, made to compete at the Shell Eco-Marathon event. The vehicle takes advantage of the lightweight and high mechanical performance of carbon fiber to achieve minimal mass and optimized fuel consumption. Based on previous experiences and background knowledge, the authors describe their work toward a design that integrates aerodynamic performance, style, structural resistance and stiffness. A portrayal of the objectives, load cases, simulations and production process—that lead to a final vehicle winner of the Design Award and 1st place general at the 2016 competition—is presented and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparison of Ethylene-Tar-Derived Isotropic Pitches Prepared by Air Blowing and Nitrogen Distillation Methods and Their Carbon Fibers
Materials 2019, 12(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12020305 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Two isotropic pitches were prepared by air blowing and nitrogen distillation methods using ethylene tar (ET) as a raw material. The corresponding carbon fibers were obtained through conventional melt spinning, stabilization, and carbonization. The structures and properties of the resultant pitches and fibers [...] Read more.
Two isotropic pitches were prepared by air blowing and nitrogen distillation methods using ethylene tar (ET) as a raw material. The corresponding carbon fibers were obtained through conventional melt spinning, stabilization, and carbonization. The structures and properties of the resultant pitches and fibers were characterized, and their differences were examined. The results showed that the introduction of oxygen by the air blowing method could quickly increase the yield and the softening point of the pitch. Moreover, the air-blown pitch (ABP) was composed of aromatic molecules with linear methylene chains, while the nitrogen-distilled pitch (NDP) mainly contained polycondensed aromatic rings. This is because the oxygen-containing functional groups in the ABP could impede ordered stack of pitch molecules and led to a methylene bridge structure instead of an aromatic condensed structure as in the NDP. Meanwhile, the spinnability of the ABP did not decrease even though it contained 2.31 wt % oxygen. In contrast, the ABP had narrower molecular weight distribution, which contributed to better stabilization properties and higher tensile strength of the carbon fiber. The tensile strength of carbon fibers from the ABP reached 860 MPa with fiber diameter of about 10 μm, which was higher than the tensile strength of 640 MPa for the NDP-derived carbon fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Design of Sandwich Composite Cradle for Computed Tomography Instrument by Analyzing the Structural Performance and X-ray Transmission Rate
Materials 2019, 12(2), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12020286 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Carbon fiber-reinforced composite has an excellent X-ray transmission rate as well as specific modulus and strength. The major components of medical devices, X-ray systems, and computed tomography (CT) equipment that require superior X-ray transmission performance also require structural performance for deformation. Therefore, medical [...] Read more.
Carbon fiber-reinforced composite has an excellent X-ray transmission rate as well as specific modulus and strength. The major components of medical devices, X-ray systems, and computed tomography (CT) equipment that require superior X-ray transmission performance also require structural performance for deformation. Therefore, medical components consist of a sandwich composite structure with carbon fiber composites applied as a face material. The X-ray transmission ratios of face material and foam material were measured according to thickness, and the relation equation for thickness and X-ray transmission rate was derived. The X-ray transmission rate for the sandwich composite structure consisting of face and core material was measured and the relationship between the X-ray transmission rate and the dimension for thickness of sandwich cradle was derived. Using the optimization process, the thicknesses of face and core materials for sandwich cradles were determined to minimize the cost of used materials. They also met the criteria that the deflection should not be more than 20 mm, and the X-ray transmission rate of the cradle should be equal to or greater than that of aluminum at 1.5 mm thickness. The sequence pattern of face material was proposed through structural analysis. The face material of the sandwich cradle was manufactured by a resin infusion and vacuum bagging method, followed by inserting the core between the cured faces. Next, the sandwich cradle assembly was completed and re-cured. The sandwich cradle met the criteria that the deflection at the end was 19.04 mm and the X-ray transmission was 78.7% greater than the X-ray transmission of 1.5 mm aluminum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessCommunication
Lignin as a Functional Green Coating on Carbon Fiber Surface to Improve Interfacial Adhesion in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers
Materials 2019, 12(1), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12010159 - 06 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
While intensive efforts are made to prepare carbon fiber reinforced plastics from renewable sources, less emphasis is directed towards elaborating green approaches for carbon fiber surface modification to improve the interfacial adhesion in these composites. In this study, we covalently attach lignin, a [...] Read more.
While intensive efforts are made to prepare carbon fiber reinforced plastics from renewable sources, less emphasis is directed towards elaborating green approaches for carbon fiber surface modification to improve the interfacial adhesion in these composites. In this study, we covalently attach lignin, a renewable feedstock, to a graphitic surface for the first time. The covalent bond is established via aromatic anchoring groups with amine functions taking part in a nucleophilic displacement reaction with a tosylated lignin derivative. The successful grafting procedures were confirmed by cyclic voltammetry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and field emission scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Both fragmentation and microdroplet tests were conducted to evaluate the interfacial shear strength of lignin coated carbon fiber samples embedded in a green cellulose propionate matrix and in a commercially used epoxy resin. The microdroplet test showed ~27% and ~65% increases in interfacial shear strength for the epoxy and cellulose propionate matrix, respectively. For the epoxy matrix covalent bond, it is expected to form with lignin, while for the cellulosic matrix hydrogen bond formation might take place; furthermore, plastisizing effects are also considered. Our study opens the gates for utilizing lignin coating to improve the shear tolerance of innovative composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Abrasive Waterjet Parameters on the Cutting and Drilling of CFRP/UNS A97075 and UNS A97075/CFRP Stacks
Materials 2019, 12(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12010107 - 30 Dec 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
The incorporation of plastic matrix composite materials into structural elements of the aeronautical industry requires contour machining and drilling processes along with metallic materials prior to final assembly operations. These operations are usually performed using conventional techniques, but they present problems derived from [...] Read more.
The incorporation of plastic matrix composite materials into structural elements of the aeronautical industry requires contour machining and drilling processes along with metallic materials prior to final assembly operations. These operations are usually performed using conventional techniques, but they present problems derived from the nature of each material that avoid implementing One Shot Drilling strategies that work separately. In this work, the study focuses on the evaluation of the feasibility of Abrasive Waterjet Machining (AWJM) as a substitute for conventional drilling for stacks formed of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) and aluminum alloy UNS A97050 through the study of the influence of abrasive mass flow rate, traverse feed rate and water pressure in straight cuts and drills. For the evaluation of the straight cuts, Stereoscopic Optical Microscopy (SOM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) techniques were used. In addition, the kerf taper through the proposal of a new method and the surface quality in different cutting regions were evaluated. For the study of holes, the macrogeometric deviations of roundness, cylindricity and straightness were evaluated. Thus, this experimental procedure reveals the conditions that minimize deviations, defects, and damage in straight cuts and holes obtained by AWJM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Fatigue Behavior of Concrete Beam with Prestressed Near-Surface Mounted CFRP Reinforcement According to the Strength and Developed Length
Materials 2019, 12(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12010051 - 24 Dec 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The prestressed near-surface mounted reinforcement (NSMR) using Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) was developed to improve the load bearing capacity of ageing or degraded concrete structures. The NSMR using FRP was the subject of numerous studies of which a mere portion was dedicated to [...] Read more.
The prestressed near-surface mounted reinforcement (NSMR) using Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) was developed to improve the load bearing capacity of ageing or degraded concrete structures. The NSMR using FRP was the subject of numerous studies of which a mere portion was dedicated to the long-term behavior under fatigue loading. Accordingly, the present study intends to examine the fatigue performance of the NSMR applying the anchoring system developed by Korea Institute of Construction and Building Technology (KICT). To that goal, fatigue test is performed on 6.4 m reinforced concrete beams fabricated with various concrete strengths and developed lengths of the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) tendon. The test results reveal that the difference in the concrete strength and in the developed length of the CFRP tendon has insignificant effect on the strengthening performance. It is concluded that the accumulation of fatigue loading, the concrete strength and the developed length of the tendon will not affect significantly the strengthening performance given that sufficient strengthening is secured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Electrolytic Surface Treatment for Improved Adhesion between Carbon Fibre and Polycarbonate
Materials 2018, 11(11), 2253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11112253 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
To achieve good mechanical properties of carbon fibre-reinforced polycarbonate composites, the fibre-matrix adhesion must be dialled to an optimum level. The electrolytic surface treatment of carbon fibres during their production is one of the possible means of adapting the surface characteristics of the [...] Read more.
To achieve good mechanical properties of carbon fibre-reinforced polycarbonate composites, the fibre-matrix adhesion must be dialled to an optimum level. The electrolytic surface treatment of carbon fibres during their production is one of the possible means of adapting the surface characteristics of the fibres. The production of a range of tailored fibres with varying surface treatments (adjusting the current, potential, and conductivity) was followed by contact angle, inverse gas chromatography and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements, which revealed a significant increase in polarity and hydroxyl, carboxyl, and nitrile groups on the fibre surface. Accordingly, an increase in the fibre-matrix interaction indicated by a higher interfacial shear strength was observed with the single fibre pull-out force-displacement curves. The statistical analysis identified the correlation between the process settings, fibre surface characteristics, and the performance of the fibres during single fibre pull-out testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Seebeck Coefficient of Thermocouples from Nickel-Coated Carbon Fibers: Theory and Experiment
Materials 2018, 11(6), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11060922 - 30 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Thermocouples made of etched and non-etched nickel-coated carbon yarn (NiCCY) were investigated. Theoretic Seebeck coefficients were compared to experimental results from measurements of generated electric voltage by these thermocouples. The etching process for making thermocouples was performed by immersion of NiCCY in the [...] Read more.
Thermocouples made of etched and non-etched nickel-coated carbon yarn (NiCCY) were investigated. Theoretic Seebeck coefficients were compared to experimental results from measurements of generated electric voltage by these thermocouples. The etching process for making thermocouples was performed by immersion of NiCCY in the solution containing a mixture of hydrochloric acid (HCl) (37% of concentration), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in three different concentrations—3%, 6%, and 10%. Thirty minutes of etching to remove Ni from NiCCY was followed by washing and drying. Next, the ability to generate electrical voltage by the thermocouples (being a junction of the etched and the non-etched NiCCY) was measured in different ranges of temperatures, both a cold junction (291.15–293.15 K) and a hot junction (293.15–325.15 K). A formula predicting the Seebeck coefficient of this thermocouple was elaborated, taking into consideration resistance values of the tested samples. It was proven that there is a good agreement between the theoretical and experimental data, especially for the yarns etched with 6% and 10% peroxide (both were mixed with HCl). The electrical resistance of non-fully etched nickel remaining on the carbon fiber surface ( R 1 ) can have a significant effect on the thermocouples’ characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental and Numerical Studies on Fiber Deformation and Formability in Thermoforming Process Using a Fast-Cure Carbon Prepreg: Effect of Stacking Sequence and Mold Geometry
Materials 2018, 11(5), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11050857 - 21 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
A fast-cure carbon fiber/epoxy prepreg was thermoformed against a replicated automotive roof panel mold (square-cup) to investigate the effect of the stacking sequence of prepreg layers with unidirectional and plane woven fabrics and mold geometry with different drawing angles and depths on the [...] Read more.
A fast-cure carbon fiber/epoxy prepreg was thermoformed against a replicated automotive roof panel mold (square-cup) to investigate the effect of the stacking sequence of prepreg layers with unidirectional and plane woven fabrics and mold geometry with different drawing angles and depths on the fiber deformation and formability of the prepreg. The optimum forming condition was determined via analysis of the material properties of epoxy resin. The non-linear mechanical properties of prepreg at the deformation modes of inter- and intra-ply shear, tensile and bending were measured to be used as input data for the commercial virtual forming simulation software. The prepreg with a stacking sequence containing the plain-woven carbon prepreg on the outer layer of the laminate was successfully thermoformed against a mold with a depth of 20 mm and a tilting angle of 110°. Experimental results for the shear deformations at each corner of the thermoformed square-cup product were compared with the simulation and a similarity in the overall tendency of the shear angle in the path at each corner was observed. The results are expected to contribute to the optimization of parameters on materials, mold design and processing in the thermoforming mass-production process for manufacturing high quality automotive parts with a square-cup geometry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Curing Effects on Interfacial Adhesion between Recycled Carbon Fiber and Epoxy Resin Heated by Microwave Irradiation
Materials 2018, 11(4), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11040493 - 26 Mar 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The interfacial adhesion of recycled carbon fiber (CF) reinforced epoxy composite heated by microwave (MW) irradiation were investigated by changing the curing state of the epoxy resin. The recycled CF was recovered from the composite, which was prepared by vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding, [...] Read more.
The interfacial adhesion of recycled carbon fiber (CF) reinforced epoxy composite heated by microwave (MW) irradiation were investigated by changing the curing state of the epoxy resin. The recycled CF was recovered from the composite, which was prepared by vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding, by thermal degradation at 500 or 600 °C. Thermogravimetric analysis showed that the heating at 600 °C caused rough damage to the CF surface, whereas recycled CF recovered at 500 °C have few defects. The interfacial shear strength (IFSS) between recycled CF and epoxy resin was measured by a single-fiber fragmentation test. The test specimen was heated by MW after mixing the epoxy resin with a curing agent or pre-curing, in order to investigate the curing effects on the matrix resin. The IFSSs of the MW-irradiated samples were significantly varied by the curing state of the epoxy resin and the surface condition of recycled CF, resulting that they were 99.5 to 131.7% of oven heated samples Furthermore, rheological measurements showed that the viscosity and shrinking behaviors of epoxy resin were affected based on the curing state of epoxy resin before MW irradiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fibers and Their Composite Materials) Printed Edition available
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