Journal of Materials Science, Vol.46, No.4, 964-974, 2011
Influence of cold remote nitrogen oxygen plasma treatment on carbon fabric and its composites with specialty polymers
The parameters controlling performance of a fiber-reinforced polymer composite are type of matrix and fibers, their amount, aspect ratio, fiber orientation with respect to loading direction, fiber-matrix interface, and processing technique. In the case of carbon fiber reinforcement, fiber-matrix interface has always been a serious concern, because of chemical inertness of carbon fibers toward matrix and hence efforts are continued to enhance the fiber-matrix adhesion. A recent technique of cold remote nitrogen oxygen plasma was employed for surface treatment of carbon fabric (CF) to enhance its chemical reactivity and mechanical interaction toward matrix material. Untreated and plasma treated CF were used as bidirectional reinforcement for developing high performance composites with various specialty polymer matrices such as Polyetherimide, Polyethersulfone, and Polyetheretherketone. Treated CF reinforced composites showed appreciable improvement in most of the mechanical properties, which varied with type of plasma, its dozing and matrix used. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy confirmed improvement in O/C and N/C ratio indicating inclusion of Oxygen and Nitrogen on the surfaces of fibers due to plasma treatment, which was responsible for enhanced adhesion. Similarly, Fourier Transform Infrared-Attenuated Total Reflectance Spectroscopy indicated presence of ether, carboxylic, and carbonyl functional groups on the plasma-treated surface of fibers. Raman spectroscopy indicated slight distortion in graphitic structure of treated CF. Scanning Electron Microscopy also indicated changes in the topography of treated CF, indicating enhanced mechanical interlocking with matrix.