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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016 Jul 27;8(29):19075-83. doi: 10.1021/acsami.6b05835. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Thermoplastics Reinforced with Self-Welded Short Carbon Fibers: Nanoparticle-Promoted Structural Evolution.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Advanced Polymeric Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology , 130 Meilong Road, Shanghai 200237, China.


The large volume of currently available fiber-reinforced polymer composites critically limits the intrinsic versatility of fibers such as high mechanical strength, heat resistance, and excellent thermal/electrical conductivity. We proposed a facile and widely applicable strategy to promote self-organization of randomly dispersed short carbon fibers (CFs) into a three-dimensionally continuous scaffold. The morphological evolution and structural reinforcement of the self-welded CF-polyamide 6 (PA6) scaffold in polystyrene (PS) matrix were investigated, with carbon black (CB) or titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) selectively localized in the PA6 domains. Surprisingly, all of the PA6 droplets once dispersed in the PS matrix can migrate and evenly encapsulate onto the CF surface when 5.8 wt % CB is incorporated, whereas in the TiO2-filled system, the PA6 droplets preferentially segregate at the junction point of CFs to fasten the self-welded CF structure. In addition, a remarkable increase in the interfacial adhesive work between PA6 and CF was observed only when TiO2 is added, and a loading of even less than 0.8 wt % can effectively abruptly strengthen the self-welded CF scaffold. We clarified that the structural evolution is promoted by the nature of self-agglomeration of NPs. CB is highly capable of self-networking in the PA6 domain, resulting in high encapsulation of PA6, although the capillary force for preferential segregation of PA6 at the junction point of CFs is reduced. By contrast, the TiO2 particles tend to form compact aggregates. Such an agglomeration pattern, together with enhanced interfacial affinity, must contribute to a strong capillary force for the preferential segregation of PA6.


carbon fiber; interface; nanocomposites; reinforced thermoplastics; structural evolution


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