Title: Natural Fiber Composites with Enhanced Impact-Damage Resistance Via Bioinspired Helicoid Fiber Architectures
Authors: Lorenzo Mencattelli,Jia Long Liu, Ping Yee Chua, Van Pham Nguyen Hong, Vincent B C Tan, Tong-Earn Tay
Abstract: Natural fibre-reinforced plastics (NFRPs) offer a more sustainable solution than conventional high-carbon footprint composites (carbon fibre, CFRP, and glass fibre, GFRP) for transportation applications. However, the lack of sufficient strength, stiffness, impact performance and environmental stability has limited the use of NFRPs to non-loadbearing applications. Impact performance is particularly important in transportation as crashworthiness is key to the safety of the passengers and several vehicle components (e.g. EV battery pack, hydrogen storage). Successful examples of NFRPs performance enhancement include microscale (e.g. fiber treatments) and mesoscale (e.g. fiber hybridization) strategies. However, constituent-independent enhancement methods, including non-conventional fiber architectures remain unexploited. Helicoid bio-inspired fibre architectures, consisting of lamination sequences characterized by helicoidal distribution of fibre orientations, allow for reduced interlaminar stresses and delayed fibre failure under impact. While Helicoid architectures proved successful in enhancing the impact resistance of several FRPs, including monolithic NFRPs, a direct performance comparison of Helicoid NFRPs against conventional GFRPs is still missing. This is key to understanding the potential of Helicoid NFRPs to replace high-carbon footprint materials. Furthermore, fiber-hybrid Helicoid architectures remain unexplored. For the first time, we report on a detailed comparison of impact performance of NFRP (flax/epoxy) and GFRP laminates in conventional (quasi-isotropic, QI-0°,45°,90°) and Helicoid architectures, along with hybridization strategies to further improve impact resistance. We used two different sets of materials and processes: 1) prepreg and autoclave; 2) non-crimp fabric and vacuum assisted resin transfer molding with epoxy. This is to be representative of different market applications. We then characterised the Helicoid and QI samples using low-velocity impact tests up to the perforation limit of each configuration. We performed detailed post-damage analyses along with data post-processing to quantify the increase in impact performance in terms of peak load, dissipated energy, and fibre failure extent. We demonstrate that at equal weight, bioinspired hybrid Helicoid architectures made of 80% flax (by mass) achieve similar perforation energy of conventional full (100%) GFRP laminates. These results pave the way for a more extensive use of sustainable materials in high-performance applications.
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Conference: CAMX 2022
Publication Date: 2022/10/17
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