Comparative study of nanomaterials for interlaminar reinforcement of fiber-composite panels

Karen Rachel Chiu, Terrisa Duenas, Yuris Dzenis, Jase Kaser, Charles E. Bakis, J. Keith Roberts, Daniel Carter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites offer benefits of reduced weight and increased specific strength; however, these materials can have relatively weak interlaminar toughness. The first modes of composite material failure often remain undetected, since failure is not always visually apparent on the surface of composite materials. In this study, several nano-sized materials and integration approaches are investigated as nanoreinforcement for composite materials. Performance is characterized by the ability of each nanoreinforced composite type to improve Mode I interlaminar toughness. The nanomaterials include 1) commercially available surface-modified silica nanoparticles and 2) continuous polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers. Test articles are manufactured using hand-layup vacuum bagging and feature either reinforced unidirectional carbon fiber or woven carbon fiber material and one of two investigated epoxybased resin systems. The nanosilica particles were integrated into the fiber composite structure by mixing with the resin system prior to layup. The PAN nanofibers were produced by an electrospinning process; these fibers were integrated by either collecting the fibers of various areal densities as respective "nanomats" on an interim substrate for subsequent transfer during layup, or directly electrospun onto dry carbon fiber ply surfaces. Test articles were characterized according to ASTM D5528 for finding Mode I strain energy release rates. Results were compared to baseline coupons to determine fracture toughness performance. Results showed that the nanosilica-reinforced coupons increased an average of 35% and 25% in strain energy release rates for the coupons featuring unidirectional fibers and woven fibers, respectively, as compared to the corresponding baseline, whereas the nanomat-reinforced and directly deposited nanofiber-reinforced composites decreased. Low strain energy release rates for the PAN nanofiber-reinforced coupons is attributed to voids in the test coupons as a result of unconventional composite coupon manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites 2013
StatePublished - 2013
EventBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 10 2013Mar 14 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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