Skip to main content

Effect of the Segmental Structure of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (Hardness) on the Interfacial Adhesion of Textile-Grade Carbo...

by Surbhi Kore, Merlin Theodore, Uday K Vaidya
Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Applied Polymer Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
6138 to 6146

In polymer composites, the fiber–matrix interface is primarily influenced by the surface treatment of the fibers and polymer morphology. Previous studies have investigated the effect of surface treatment of carbon fiber on the mechanical properties of the resulting composites. However, very few studies have explored the chemical structural modification of polymer effect on the fiber–matrix adhesion. In this work, the interfaces of soft thermoplastic polyurethane (S-TPU) and hard-segmented TPU (H-TPU) were investigated through surface, thermal, and mechanical characterization. A textile-grade carbon fiber (TCF) with 1% concentration of epoxy sizing (an emerging material for nonaerospace applications with 450 K filament tows) was used as a reinforcement to investigate the structure–property relationship at the interface. Atomic force microscopy results showed 39% higher surface roughness for S-TPU than for H-TPU. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results revealed a 550% increase in C═O content, which can provide multiple hydrogen bonding networks in H-TPU, and these C═O bonds can produce a strong chemical bond at the fiber–matrix interface. Dynamic mechanical analysis and differential scanning calorimetry results confirmed the presence of hydrogen bonding that enhances the cross-linked density by 232% in H-TPU compared to S-TPU. The improved mechanical properties of H-TPU composites, such as flexural, impact and tensile by 30, 50, and 130% compared to S-TPU composites, prove that the crystallinity and hydrogen bonding significantly increase the load bearing capacity due to the strong interface. The mechanical properties of TCF–TPU composites validate the formation of chemical bonds through a nucleophilic addition reaction at the interface and improve the bond strength of the composites. Thus, tailoring the polyurethane structure broadens the performance of segmented TPU in conjunction with TCF reinforcement, which has implications for cost-effective, high-strength composites.