Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, Vol.20, No.16, 1929-1936, 2006
Measuring effective interfacial shear strength in carbon fiber bundle polymeric composites
Adhesion in composite materials is often quantified using the single fiber fragmentation (SFF) test. While this method is believed to provide accurate values for the fiber-matrix interfacial shear strength (IFSS), these may not accurately reflect the macroscopic mechanical properties of specimens consisting of tows of thousands of tightly spaced fibers embedded in a resin matrix. In these types of specimens, adhesion may be mitigated by fiber twisting and misalignment, differences in the resin structure in the confined spaces between the fibers and, most importantly, by any incompleteness of the fiber wetting by the resin. The present work implements fiber band fragmentation (FBF) testing to obtain effective interfacial shear strengths, whose values reflect the importance of these factors. The fiber fragmentation in these specimens is tracked through the counting and sorting of acoustic emission (AE) events occurring during the tensile testing of the specimen and yields the average critical fiber fragment length. AE results, in conjunction with stress-strain data, show that fiber breakage events occur at acoustic wavelet amplitudes substantially greater than those generated by fiber/matrix debonding. Kelly-Tyson analysis is applied, using the measured critical fiber fragment length together with known values for the fiber diameter and tensile strength to yield the effective IFSS. FBF tests are performed on carbon fiber/poly(vinyl butyral) (PVB) dog-bone fiber-bundle systems, and effective IFSS values substantially lower than those typically reported for the single fiber fragmentation testing of similar systems are obtained, suggesting the importance of multi-fiber effects and incomplete fiber wetting.