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2.1 MATERIALS ENGINEERING
Interphase characterisation and study of structure-property relations of fibre-reinforced polymers - INTERPHASE
The aim of this thematic network is to facilitate exchange, integration and creation of know-how through partner co-operation on industrially relevant research for the development of new light weight composite materials in order to contribute to a competitive "car of tomorrow" based on ongoing research in the co-operating industries, universities and research centres.
The technical objective of this proposal is to develop new and rational means of characterising "interphases" of polymer matrix and reinforcing fibres in real composites of various fibre architectures and matrix properties. The goal is to find structure-property relations which can be used to produce tailor-made composite materials. The deliverables will be proper bases for improvement of composite properties caused by better fibre-matrix interaction. Thus, there is a strong need of the automotive industry for low cost composites having higher mechanical performances.
Various micromechanical (fibre fragmentation, pull-out, microindentation, microdebond) and macromechanical (tensile, bending, shear, impact, dynamic loading) test methods are used to determine "characteristics" of fibre-matrix interaction.
The comprehensive experimental investigations will provide input to computational mechanics activities aimed at modeling failure mechanisms and interpreting causes of, and driving forces for, fibre-matrix interaction.
The co-operation proposed includes research groups dealing with micro- and macro-mechanical test methods with the aim of developing rational ways of characterising the structure-property relations of defined polymer composite systems and therefore improving the composite properties.
The network objective is to establish a critical mass of European research scientists and engineers with the necessary balance of knowledge and skills in analytical, numerical and experimental mechanics of composite materials in order to access the world-wide technical base in this field. The network has also the ambition to develop a virtual laboratory team capable of meeting scientific objectives based on industrial demands of polymer reinforcement from composite manufacturers and end-users which have been up to now beyond the individual capabilities of research groups.
European dimension and partnership
The transnational nature of the proposed project is due to its complexity. Seven leading groups in this field of research will work together with five teams of large European companies. The participation of the Israeli partner is proposed because of its merits in the field of interphase modelling and characterisation.
This project will produce guidelines on how to tailor the interphase with respect to the requested mechanical performance. The project is clearly of precompetitive nature. It means that the results may be of great importance for fibre and resin manufacturers, compounders and last but not least end-users of composites. The main goal of material development is a better cost/performance ratio, with particular reference to automative applications.
The results of this programme will be utilized in different ways. Partners will check how far the results achieved on selected fibre/matrix combinations can be generalised and will elaborate guidelines for property tailoring of composites. In addition, round-robin tests on the assessment of interfacial effects will trigger concentrated actions for standardisation of various testing methods.
About half of the partners are from academia. Their research work is described in the network tasks and includes characterisation, modelling and scaling up. The main role of the industrial partners involved is to screen and control activities from the industrial needs point of view. Industrial partners will provide also well-characterised reinforcing fibres and polymeric matrices for composite applications, as well as expertise in macroscopic testing of end-use applications. This strong link between industry and academia will contribute to a successful R&D work on the interfacial control of the mechanical performance of polymeric composites.
Composite materials are made of polymers (non-polar or functionalized) and compatibly sized or surface-treated reinforcing fibres. Reliable control of the degree of adhesion between the fibre and the matrix is required if a composite is to be used as a structural material. Optimization and tailoring of the fibre/matrix interfacial properties are possible provided that reliable quantitative methods for the measurement of interfacial properties are available, and that the mechanisms of interfacial adhesion are properly understood.
The research groups involved will co-operate to fulfill the needs of industry. This should resolve currently unanswered contradictions concerning the strength of interfaces as compared to the strength of bulk matrix. The aim is to bridge the currently unfilled gap between mechanical measurements of interface adhesion performed with model laboratory-scale microcomposites and macroscopic tests that are simpler to perform but do not explain the mechanisms of adhesion and interaction influenced by fibre surface treatment, wetting, interphase, curing and/or consolidation cycle. This research activity could lead to new standardized methods of fibre-polymer adhesion measurement procedures and to the development of better tailored interfaces and to more reliable and safer composites.
Contract Brite-Euram Nr: BRRT-CT97-5004
480 000 ECU
1 April 1997
31 March 2001
EC scientific officer
Salvador CERVERA MARCH
Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden Physikalische
Akzo Nobel Central Research BV - Arnhem (NL)