Magnetic alignment of short carbon fibres in curing composites

Jacopo Ciambella, David C. Stanier, Sameer S. Rahatekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
399 Downloads (Pure)


Alignment of magnetic particles into a viscous fluid by a homogeneous magnetic field has been studied both experimentally and theoretically, but very few studies have investigated the effects of viscosity changes on the capability of achieving complex fibre assemblies in composite materials. In this paper, we study the alignment of short carbon fibres into a viscous matrix whose viscosity is made dependent on the time, in order to simulate the curing process of the composite. A simple model is derived which gives the evolution of fibre position and orientation in terms of the external field and shows good agreement with the experimental evidence on nickel coated carbon fibres embedded in PDMS. The model is used to predict the fibre distribution at curing and hence could be a useful tool to predict the mechanical, electrical and magnetic properties of the composite. A closed form expression of the minimum magnetic field intensity necessary to achieve the desired orientation is derived in terms of the magnetic and geometric properties of the fibres. This equation can be used to guide experiments, and offers a way to discriminate which matrix/fibre configuration can be most proficiently used to have a highly ordered composite.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Early online date19 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017


  • Fibre
  • Magnetic properties
  • Cure behavior
  • Analytical modelling
  • Assembly

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