Skip to main content

Unravelling the Influence of Surface Modification on the Ultimate Performance of Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Composites

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Publication Date

The overall performance of polymer composites depends on not only the intrinsic properties of the polymer matrix and inorganic filler but also the quality of interfacial adhesion. Although many reported approaches have been focused on the chemical treatment for improving interfacial adhesion, the examination of ultimate mechanical performance and long-term properties of polymer composites has been rarely investigated. Herein, we report carbon fiber (CF)/epoxy composites with improved interfacial adhesion by covalent bonding between CFs and the epoxy matrix. This leads to the improved ultimate mechanical properties and enhanced thermal aging performance. Raman mapping demonstrates the formation of an interphase region derived from the covalent bonding between CFs and the epoxy matrix, which enables the uniform fiber distribution and eliminates phase separation during thermal cycling. The covalent attachment of the CF to the epoxy matrix suppresses its migration during temperature fluctuations, preserving the mechanical performance of resulting composites under the thermal aging process. Furthermore, the finite elemental analysis reveals the effectiveness of the chemical treatment of CFs in improving the interfacial strength and toughness of silane-treated CF/epoxy composites. The insight into the mechanical improvement of CF/epoxy composites suggests the high potential of surface modification of inorganic fillers toward polymer composites with tunable properties for different applications.