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Using Inverse Gas Chromatography to Measure Carbon Fiber-Polymer Interaction Strengths

F. Thielmann and D. Burnett
Surface Measurement Systems, US

Keywords: carbon fiber, composite, polymer

The quality and performance of carbon fiber composites depends strongly on the interaction of the two components at the interface. Those interactions are typically described as adhesion or cohesion phenomena. Both properties depend on the energetic situation on the surface of the materials which is commonly expressed by the surface energy. Surface energies are classically measured by wettability (contact angle) methods. The main problem with this technique is the limited sensitivity, making it less useful for sophisticated batch-to-batch variation studies. Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) has become a popular alternative due to its high sensitivity and reproducibility. In this study a series of carbon fibers with different surface modifications have been investigated by IGC as well as various polymers used for surface coatings. The results obtained for the individual components have been applied to calculate fiber-polymer interactions. Although this is not new as such, in this work a novel route for the determination of dispersive and specific interactions based on a modified van Oss approach has been used. This approach allows for more accurate predictions of the interaction between the fiber and polymer. The improved data quality was shown by a comparison with older, simpler studies and a correlation with mechanical properties of the composite.

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