Hybrid multi-scale basalt fiber-epoxy composite laminate reinforced with Electrospun polyurethane nanofibers containing carbon nanotubes

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Journal Article
Fibers and Polymers, 2014, 15 (6), pp. 1295 - 1302
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In this study, we report the fabrication and evaluation of a hybrid multi-scale basalt fiber/epoxy composite laminate reinforced with layers of electrospun carbon nanotube/polyurethane (CNT/PU) nanofibers. Electrospun polyurethane mats containing 1, 3 and 5 wt% carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were interleaved between layers of basalt fibers laminated with epoxy through vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process. The strength and stiffness of composites for each configuration were tested by tensile and flexural tests, and SEM analysis was conducted to observe the morphology of the composites. The results showed increase in tensile strength (4-13 %) and tensile modulus (6-20 %), and also increase in flexural strength (6.5-17.3 %) and stiffness of the hybrid composites with the increase of CNT content in PU nanofibers. The use of surfactant to disperse CNTs in the electrospun PU reinforcement resulted to the highest increase in both tensile and flexural properties, which is attributed to the homogeneous dispersion of CNTs in the PU nanofibers and the high surface area of the nanofibers themselves. Here, the use of multi-scale reinforcement fillers with good and homogeneous dispersion for epoxy-based laminates showed increased mechanical performance of the hybrid composite laminates. © 2014 The Korean Fiber Society and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
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