Cyclic Olefin Copolymer Interleaves for Thermally Mendable Carbon/Epoxy Laminates

Molecules. 2020 Nov 16;25(22):5347. doi: 10.3390/molecules25225347.


Thin cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) foils were used as intrinsic thermoplastic healing agents in carbon fiber (CF)-reinforced epoxy laminates. COC films were produced by hot pressing and were interleaved in the interlaminar regions between each EP/CF lamina, during the hand layup fabrication of the laminates. Three samples were produced, i.e., the neat EP/CF laminate without COC, and two laminates containing COC layers with a thickness of 44 μm and 77 μm, respectively. It was observed that the fiber volume fraction decreased, and the porosity increased with the introduction of COC layers, and this effect was more evident when thick films were used. These two effects, combined with the sub-optimal adhesion between COC and EP, caused a decrease in the mechanical properties (i.e., the elastic modulus, flexural strength, interlaminar shear strength and interlaminar fracture toughness) of the laminates. Specimens subjected to mode I interlaminar fracture toughness test were then thermally mended under pressure by resistive heating, through the Joule effect of conductive CFs. A temperature of approximately 190 °C was reached during the healing treatment. The healing efficiency was evaluated as the ratio of critical strain energy release rate (GIC) of the healed and virgin specimens. Healed specimens containing COC layers of 44 μm and 77 μm exhibited a healing efficiency of 164% and 100%, respectively. As expected, the healing treatment was not beneficial for the neat EP/CF laminate without COC, which experienced a healing efficiency of only 2%. This result proved the efficacy of COC layers as a healing agent for EP/CF laminates, and the effectiveness of resistive heating as a way to activate the intrinsic healing mechanism.

Keywords: carbon fiber; cyclic olefin copolymer; epoxy; laminates; self-healing; thermal mending.

MeSH terms

  • Alkenes / chemistry*
  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • Cyclization
  • Electric Impedance
  • Epoxy Resins / chemistry*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Shear Strength
  • Temperature*
  • Thermogravimetry


  • Alkenes
  • Epoxy Resins
  • Polymers
  • Carbon