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10th February 2017, Luxembourg

Nanotubes shown to boost prepreg performance

Ultrasonic C-scan (defect echo) of impacted specimens for delamination area determination: neat (left), 0.01 wt.% (middle) and 0.5 wt.% (right). © OCSiAlThe fracture properties and fatigue behaviour of unidirectional CFRP prepregs can be significantly improved by modification with ultra-low concentrations of 0.01 and 0.05 wt.%, Tuball single wall carbon nanotubes, a new study has found.

The study by the Institute of Polymers and Composites at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) analysed a hotmelt epoxy prepreg system that was modified with an industrially available masterbatch containing the Tuball nanotubes produced by OCSiAl.

Neat and nanotube- modified versions of the prepreg were subjected to ordinary service conditions, specifically an impact of 28 J. The samples modified with 0.05 wt.% of nanotubes recorded a significant reduction of delamination area by 19%. Additionally, the compression after impact strength was increased by around 5%.  

The results have encouraged the Hamburg University of Technology to continue their testing and large manufacturers are also reported to be running industrial trials. Further results are expected to demonstrate even higher potential.

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