Laminates of fibre-reinforced prepreg have excellent in-plane mechanical properties, but have inadequate performance in the through thickness direction. Here, we address this issue by application of epoxy-terminated butadiene nitrile (ETBN) liquid rubber between the prepreg laminae using an automatic draw bar coating technique. Test results reveal that by adding ETBN in small quantities in the range of 9.33–61.33 g/m2, the interlaminar critical energy release rates (GIc and GIIc) are improved by up to 122% in mode-I and 49% in mode-II. Moreover, this finding is further supported by the dynamic mechanical analysis thermograms that clearly indicate that coating has not altered the Tg of ETBN-coated samples. Scanning electron microscopic analysis of fracture surfaces showed that rubber particles formed micro cavitations in the epoxy, causing localised rubber rich regions. These resin-rich regions require more energy to fracture, resulting in increased toughness of the glass epoxy prepreg systems.
- Polymer–matrix composites
- fracture toughness
- prepreg coating
Shivakumar Gouda, P. S., Williams, J. D., Yasaee, M., Chaterjee, V., Jawali, D., Rahatekar, S., & Wisnom, M. R. (2016). Drawdown prepreg coating method using epoxy terminated butadiene nitrile rubber to improve fracture toughness of glass epoxy composites. Journal of Composite Materials, 50(7), 873-884. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021998315583317