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Integrating tough Antheraea pernyi silk and strong carbon fibres for impact-critical structural composites.

  • Author(s): Yang, Kang
  • Guan, Juan
  • Numata, Keiji
  • Wu, Change
  • Wu, Sujun
  • Shao, Zhengzhong
  • Ritchie, Robert O
  • et al.
Abstract

High stiffness and strength carbon fibres are commonly used to reinforce epoxy-resin composites. While wild Antheraea pernyi silk fibres exhibit high toughness originating from their α-helix/random coil conformation structures and their micro-fibre morphology, their insufficient strength and stiffness hinders them from being used in similar structural composites. In this work, we use interply hybridization of silk and carbon fibres to reinforce epoxy-matrix composites. With increased carbon fibre content, the quasi-static tensile/flexural stiffness and strength increases following the rule of mixtures while more silk fibre acts to increase ductility and impact strength. This results in a composite comprising equal volumes of carbon and silk fibres achieving an impact strength of 98 kJ m-2, which is twice that of purely carbon-fibre reinforced composites (44 kJ m-2). This work shows tough natural silk fibres and strong synthetic fibres can be successfully integrated into epoxy-resin composites for tailored mechanical properties.

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