Effect of Plasma-Treatment of Interleaved Thermoplastic Films on Delamination in Interlayer Fibre Hybrid Composite Laminates

Polymers (Basel). 2020 Nov 28;12(12):2834. doi: 10.3390/polym12122834.


Safe, light, and high-performance engineering structures may be generated by adopting composite materials with stable damage process (i.e., without catastrophic delamination). Interlayer hybrid composites may fail stably by suppressing catastrophic interlayer delamination. This paper provides a detailed analysis of delamination occurring in poly(acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) (ABS) or polystyrene (PS) film interleaved carbon-glass/epoxy hybrid composites. The ABS films toughened the interfaces of the hybrid laminates, generating materials with higher mode II interlaminar fracture toughness (GIIC), delamination stress (σdel), and eliminating the stress drops observed in the reference baseline material, i.e., without interleaf films, during tensile tests. Furthermore, stable behaviour was achieved by treating the ABS films in oxygen plasma. The mechanical performance (GIIC and σdel) of hybrid composites containing PS films, were initially reduced but increased after oxygen plasma treatment. The plasma treatment introduced O-C=O and O-C-O-O functional groups on the PS surfaces, enabling better epoxy/PS interactions. Microscopy analysis provided evidence of the toughening mechanisms, i.e., crack deflection, leading plasma-treated PS to stabilise delamination.

Keywords: delamination; fibre hybrid composites; film-interleaving; fracture toughness; plasma-treatment.