High-cycle fatigue of hybrid carbon nanotube/glass fiber/polymer composites
Glass fiber polymer composites have high strength, low cost, but suffer from poor performance in fatigue. Mechanisms for high-cycle (>104 cycles) fatigue failure in glass fiber composites consist primarily of matrix-dominated damage accumulation and growth that coalesce and propagate into the fibers resulting in ultimate fatigue failure. This investigation shows that the addition of small volume fractions of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the matrix results in a significant increase in the high-cycle fatigue life. Cyclic hysteresis measured over each cycle in real time during testing is used as a sensitive indicator of fatigue damage. We show that hysteresis growth with cycling is suppressed when CNTs are present with resulting longer cyclic life. Incorporating CNTs into the matrix tends to inhibit the formation of large cracks since a large density of nucleation sites are provided by the CNTs. In addition, the increase in energy absorption from the fracture of nanotubes bridging across nanoscale cracks and nanotube pull-out from the matrix is thought to contribute to the higher fatigue life of glass composites containing CNTs. High-resolution scanning electron microscopy suggests possible mechanisms for energy absorption including nanotube pull-out and fracture. The distributed nanotubes in the matrix appear to inhibit damage propagation resulting in overall improved fatigue strength and durability.
KeywordsFatigue Fatigue Life Glass Composite Carbon Fiber Composite Neat Resin
This work was supported in part by a grant from Entropy Research Laboratories, San Francisco, California, USA.