, Volume 47, Issue 10, pp 4449-4456
Date: 17 Feb 2012

Self-healing of delamination fatigue cracks in carbon fibre–epoxy laminate using mendable thermoplastic

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Abstract

This article examines the self-healing repair of delamination damage in mendable carbon fibre–epoxy laminates under static or fatigue interlaminar loading. The healing of delamination cracks in laminates containing particles or fibres of the mendable thermoplastic poly[ethylene-co-(methacrylic acid)] (EMAA) was investigated. The results showed that the formation of large-scale bridging zone of EMAA ligaments along the crack upon healing yielded a large increase (~300%) in the static mode I interlaminar fracture toughness, exceeding the requirement of full restoration. The mendable laminates retained high healing efficiency with multiple repair cycles because of the capability of EMAA to reform the bridging zone under static delamination crack growth conditions. Under fatigue loading, healing by the EMAA was found to restore the mode I fatigue crack growth resistance, with the rates of growth being slightly less than that pertinent to the unmodified laminate. The EMAA bridging zone, which generated high toughness under static loading conditions, does not develop under fatigue loading because of rapid fatigue failure of the crack bridging ligaments. Similar to the multiple healing capability of EMAA under static loading, multiple healing of delamination fatigue cracks is confirmed, with the fatigue crack growth rates remaining approximately unchanged. This study shows that EMAA was capable of full recovery of fatigue crack growth resistance and superior healing efficiency for static loading.