Hybrid Composites

Multi-Scale Hybrid Composites

As the technology behind fiber-reinforced composite processing improves performance and costs continue to decrease, composite materials are being used to fabricate low-weight structures in high-performance aerospace applications. However, a fundamental limitation exists in the transverse and interlaminar properties of composites due to the anisotropy caused by fiber alignment. Thus, the dropping costs of multifunctional nanoparticles enables the design of hybrid composites incorporating multiscale reinforcement, thereby yielding the next generation of composite materials. Figure 1 shows a fracture surface of a hybrid composite containing both carbon fibers and carbon nanofibers, and Figure 2 presents a higher magnification image of the region indicated by the red square in Figure 1. Significant local damage is observed in the vicinity of the CNFs, thereby indicating enhanced energy dissipation during failure for improved toughness of the macroscopic composite.

fracture surface
higher magnification

Researchers on this project:

Marc Palmeri


Thomas Tsotsis, The Boeing Company
Cesar Merino, Grupo Antolin Ingenieria 
Hexcel, Corp. 
Arkema, Inc.


Development of Multifunctional, Toughened Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Composites." M. Palmeri, K. Putz, T. Ramanathan, T. Tsotsis, and L.C. Brinson (Proceedings of the 51st AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, Orlando, FL, 2010).