Development of Composites with a Self-Healing Function
Keywords:smart composites, epoxy matrix, self-healing, vascular approach
This research aimed to realize experimentally the facilevascular self-healing system in epoxy glass fibre reinforced composite. Using flexiblepolytetrafluoroethylene tubes as removable preforms, the channels were embeddedinto both neat epoxy resin and unidirectional glass-fibre reinforced epoxy laminate.Room temperature curable epoxy resin with a surfactant and an amine-basedhardener were the components of the binary healing agent. The specimens oftapered double cantilever beam geometry were subjected to Mode I fracture tests.Fracture of specimens released the healing agent from channels and triggeredself-healing process of the crack. Tested neat epoxy resin specimensdemonstrated recovery of fracture toughness ca. 70 % after 24 h of self-healingat 50°C. Unidirectional laminate specimens (250×23×1.2 mm) were made by vacuuminfusion method from two layers of glass yarns with 5 embedded channels aligningto reinforcing fibers. The channels were alternately filled with components of thehealing agent and then sealed. It was revealed that the embedded vascularchannels in specimens had very little effect on their elastic modulus. Theexperimental program included multiple three-point bending tests of specimensfor their initial damage and self-healing of specimens during their heat treatmentand following exposure at room temperature. Static and dynamic flexural moduli ofelasticity were determined by three-point bending and cantilever beam vibrationat all stages of the test program. The healing efficiency was evaluated as a relativechange of elastic modulus. The efficiency ca. 30 % was reached during 24 h at50°C and additionally increased up ca. 40 % after more than 3 weeks of roomtemperature exposure. The sealed healing agent was capable of maintaining thecapacity for self-healing for at least six months. The research resultsdemonstrated capacity of the macro-channel approach for self-healing realizationin multifunctional polymer composite materials.
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