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Development and application of micromechanical techniques for characterising interfacial shear strength in fibre-thermoplastic composites

Yang, Liu and Thomason, James (2012) Development and application of micromechanical techniques for characterising interfacial shear strength in fibre-thermoplastic composites. Polymer Testing, 31 (7). 895–903. ISSN 0142-9418

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The development of single fibre pull-out and microbond tests for characterising interfacial strength in thermoplastic composites is reviewed in detail. Manufacture of an experimental jig and sample preparation regimes for both tests are described. The challenges addressed in the sample preparation include the measurement of embedded fibre length for pull-out samples and the low yield rate of axisymmetric resin droplets obtained during sample preparation under nitrogen. The applications of these laboratory developed techniques are demonstrated by characterisation of the interfacial shear strength (IFSS) of glass fibre-polypropylene (GF-PP) and natural fibre-polylactic acid (NF-PLA). The comparison of the IFSS between neat and modified GF-PP showed that both methods were sensitive to the interfacial performance change despite the poor agreement between them for the absolute IFSS values from the same composite. The effect of the material modification was also reflected in load-displacement curves with different behaviour of the frictional motion after complete debonding. When a high level of fibre-matrix adhesion was realised in the composites with weak fibres, the microbond test showed higher feasibility for characterising the IFSS. This was clearly shown in its application to NF-PLA.