Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Marek Urban, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Philip Brown

Committee Member

Dr. Igor Luzinov

Abstract

Fiber-polymer matrix interfaces are critical components of high performance composite materials. In this thesis we utilized microwave plasma surface reactions in the presence of maleic anhydride to functionalize carbon fiber surfaces. As a result, carboxylic acid and hydroxyl groups were generated, which facilitated covalent bonding to epoxy-based polymer matrices. Raman and attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy were utilized to characterize the fiber surfaces, whereas mechanical properties of newly formed interfaces were assessed using shear stress analysis. These studies show that using solventless microwave plasma surface modifications, interfacial mechanical properties of carbon fiber-epoxy matrix can be enhanced by ~ 6%. The broader impact of these studies is that microwave plasma fiber surface modifications can be utilized to functionalize other polymeric and inorganic fibers, with an ultimate goal of enhancing composite interfacial and overall properties.

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