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MODIFICATION OF CARBON FIBRE/EPOXY COMPOSITES BY POLYVINYL ALCOHOL (PVA) BASED ELECTROSPUN NANOFIBRES
In this study, the effects of modifying interlaminar region of unidirectional carbon fibre/epoxy composites by the incorporation of electrospun polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) nanofibres were investigated. PVA nanofibres were directly deposited onto the carbon fabrics by electrospinning method to improve mechanical performance of those composites. The features of the electrospun nanofibres were characterized by microscopy techniques. The unidirectional carbon fibre/epoxy composite laminates with/without PVA nanofibre interlayers were manufactured by vacuum-infusion technique in a  4 configuration. Tensile, three-point bending, compression, Charpy-impact and Mode-I fracture toughness tests ( Double Cantilever Beam (DCB)) were carried out in accordance with ASTM standards to evaluate mechanical performance of the composites. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations were made on the specimens to evaluate microstructural features. It was observed that the carbon fabrics were successfully coated with a thin layer of PVA nanofibres by electrospinning technique. The results showed that PVA nanofibres improve the mechanical properties of unidirectional carbon/epoxy composite laminates when subjected to in-plane loading. On the other hand, PVA nanofibres slightly reduced the mode-I fracture toughness values although they led to more stable crack propagation.