Enhancement of interlaminar fracture toughness of carbon fiber–epoxy composites using polyamide-6,6 electrospun nanofibers
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In this study, carbon fiber–epoxy composites are interleaved with electrospun polyamide-6,6 (PA 66) nanofibers to improve their Mode-I fracture toughness. These nanofibers are directly deposited onto carbon fabrics before composite manufacturing via vacuum infusion. Three-point bending, tensile, compression, interlaminar shear strength, Charpy impact, and double cantilever beam tests are performed on the reference and PA 66 interleaved specimens to evaluate the effects of PA 66 nanofibers on the mechanical properties of composites. To investigate the effect of nanofiber areal weight density (AWD), nanointerlayers with various AWD are prepared by changing the electrospinning duration. It is found that the electrospun PA 66 nanofibers are very effective in improving Mode-I toughness and impact resistance, compressive strength, flexural modulus, and strength of the composites. However, these nanofibers cause a decrease in the tensile strength of the composites. The glass-transition temperature of the composites is not affected by the addition of PA 66 nanofibers. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2017, 134, 45244.