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Mode-I fracture toughness of carbon fiber/epoxy composites interleaved by aramid nonwoven veils
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In this study, carbon fiber/epoxy (CF/EP) composites were interleaved with aramid nonwoven veils with an areal weight density of 8.5 g/m(2) to improve their Mode-I fracture toughness. The control and aramid interleaved CF/EP composite laminates were manufactured by VARTM in a 4 configuration. Tensile, three-point bending, compression, interlaminar shear, Charpy impact and Mode-I (DCB) fracture toughness values were determined to evaluate the effects of aramid nonwoven fabrics on the mechanical performance of the CF/EP composites. Thermomechanical behavior of the specimens was investigated by Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA). The results showed that the propagation Mode-I fracture toughness values of CF/EP composites can be significantly improved (by about 72%) using aramid nonwoven fabrics. It was found that the main extrinsic toughening mechanism is aramid microfiber bridging acting behind the crack-tip. The incorporation of these nonwovens also increased interlaminar shear and Charpy impact strength by 10 and 16.5%, respectively. Moreover, it was revealed that the damping ability of the composites increased with the incorporation of aramid nonwoven fabrics in the interlaminar region of composites. On the other hand, they caused a reduction in in-plane mechanical properties due to the reduced carbon fiber volume fraction, increased thickness and void formation in the composites.