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Improved Mechanical Properties of

Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Epoxy

Composites by depositing Carbon
Black on Carbon Fiber Surface

By Huang Et Al. (2017)

Presented By:
Ryan Mcparland & Niket Vasavada

The interface bonding between untreated CF and resin matrix limits the excellent
performance of carbon fiber composite, due to the large surface inertia of carbon
Therefore surface treatment techniques have been carried out on CF to improve
the mechanical properties of the fibers/epoxy composites without sacrificing tensile
strength of base fibers.
Carbon Black (CB) was introduced onto the surface of CFs by chemical vapour
deposition (CVD).
The paper addresses an effective method of depositing CB on the surface of CFs
and observe the change in mechanical properties of the CFs.
Previous Methods to increase Carbon Fibre
The interface bonding between untreated CF and resin matrix limits the excellent
performance of carbon fiber composite, due to the large surface inertia of carbon
Treating the surface of Carbon Fiber:
Chemical Grafting
Electrochemical Method
Plasma Treatment
All methods generate oxygen based functional groups which create a decrease in
the base fibres tensile strength.
Thermal Chemical Vapour Deposition

CF-X 1000C

N2 (400 sccm) + C2H5OH (20 ml/h) Outlet

Carbon Fibers on Graphite Frame

Quartz Boat

Single Zone Atmospheric Pressure Quartz Tube Furnace

Characterisation Techniques

Surface Roughness - AFM (Atomic Force

Surface Morphology - SEM (Scanning Electron
Structure - Raman
Surface Energy - DCAT (Dynamic Contact
Angle Test)
Interfacial Strength - IFSS (Interfacial Shear
Strength) Test
Interlaminar Strength - ILSS (Interlaminar Shear
Surface Roughness & Morphologies

Surface topography characterized by

The surface of the untreated CF
appeared neat and smooth.
CF-5, microspheres were observed on
the surface.
CF-10, microspheres begin to stack on
the surface.
AFM for all CF Specimens
AFM (Atomic Force Microscope)

Untreated = 43.6 nm

CF-5 = 54.8 nm

CF-10 = 60.2 nm

Untreated CFs have many neat shallow

grooves arising from the production
Treated CFs have an increased
roughness which is the result of uniform
dispersion of CBs on the surface, which
assemble and form packing structures
with increasing growth time.
Raman Spectroscopy
The method of determining the Molecular Fingerprint of a sample substance by
inelastic scattering of monochromatic light (photons) upon interaction with molecules of
the sample substance.
ID - intensity peak upon interaction of photons with amorphous Carbon molecules.
IG - intensity peak upon interaction of photons with graphitic Carbon molecules.
ID/IG - No. of Defects/Disorders (Amorphous-Graphitic Structural relation)
Surface Energy

Dynamic Contact Angle Test

4 single Carbon Fibers; 10mm length
Water-Diiodomethane System
Motor Speed:
0.1mm/s till surface detection
0.008mm/s advancing speed
0.008mm/s receding speed

Contact Angle ( ) Surface Energy (mN-m-1)

Water Diiodometha P D

Untreated CF 82.75 58.17 25.38 5.98 31.36

CF-5 68.92 42.63 31.60 10.59 42.19

CF-10 56.13 32.01 34.14 16.95 51.09

IFSS Testing
IFSS (Interfacial Shear Strength) Test
Micro-composites prepared on a hard-
paper (framed on double stick tape)
Cured for 2 hours at 363K, 393K &
Fiber Pull-out Test at Crosshead
Speed of 4 microns/sec.
IFSS = F / ( x d x l)
F = max. Load
d = diameter of Carbon Fiber
l = embedded length
ILSS Testing
ILSS (Interlaminar Shear Strength) Test
Specimen Dimensions:
Length - 10mm
Width - 6mm
Thickness - 2mm
3-Point Bending Test at Crosshead
Speed of 2mm/min.
ILSS = 0.75 x P / (b x h)
P = compression force at fracture
b = specimen width
l = specimen thickness
SEM after ILSS Testing

(d) Untreated (e) CF-5

(f) CF-10
Impact Testing

Specimen Dimensions (mm) - 55 x 6.5 x 2

Drop Weight - 4 kg
Drop Velocity - 1 m/s
Impact Span - 40 mm
Due to the increase in interfacial adhesion, CB
increases the impact strength of CF .
Untreated = 69.4kJ/m^2
CF-5 = 85.17
CF-10 = 80.93 kJ/m^2
The CBs acted as a shielding layer to relieve the
stress concentration and prevent crack growth.
Longtime growth reduces the reinforcing effect.
Single Fibre Tensile Testing

Gauge Length - 100 mm

Crosshead Speed - 10
From the results it was noticeable that:
CB prevents defect diffusion on the CFs
CB also improves tensile strength, reducing
stress concentration
As time increases CB gradually aggregates
and forms the secondary structure of CB.
Secondary structure is unstable therefore
creates a shift in stress concentration, thus
reducing fiber strength.

The paper proves that by growing CB on the surface of CFs by using CVD, that there is a direct improvement
to the mechanical properties of the fibres/epoxy composites without sacrificing tensile strength.

The experimental results suggest that CB could not only increase surface energy, wettability and CF surface
roughness, but also cover the defects of CF surface.

Compared with untreated CFs composites, a significant increase of ILSS, IFSS and impact property were
achieved in the 5- min-modified CFs, which was 22.0, 44.4 and 22.7%, respectively (13.55, 9 and 16.6% for
10-min-modified CFs).

Meanwhile, the tensile strength (TS) of modified CFs showed a slightly increased in comparison with that of
untreated carbon fiber.

The paper also revealed that there is a optimum time of CB growth between 5 and 10 minutes, greater than
the critical time the carbon bonds begin to stack and decrease the strength of the fiber.