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Atmospheric pressure plasma polymerisation to tailor the adhesion to elastomers during manufacturing of unidirectional fibre/elastomer composites

Project overview

Carbon fibres are currently used as reinforcement in elastomeric polyurethane power transmission belting which was applied in the automotive industry and in industrial equipment. Poor adhesion between the carbon fibres and matrix which can lead to “belt tensile decay” is the main problem of current belt system, as mechanical interlocking rather than chemical bonding is the main interaction between the fibres and the elastomeric matrix polymer. So the main challenge is to optimise the interaction between high strength continuous carbon fibres and the elastomer matrix, which will help to utilise carbon fibres properties more effectively and to reach the maximum dynamic performance from this fibre/elastomer composite. The main aim of the project is therefore to develop an atmospheric plasma treatment which can introduce chemical functionalities to the fibre surface that can react with the matrix to enhance the load carrying capability and flexural fatigue life of the fibre/elastomer composite. Further, this process can be incorporated directly into the composites manufacturing process. After plasma modification process, the surface chemistry of the modified fibres will be characterised, the static and dynamic adhesion performance between the fibres and elastomer will be characterized, and the effect of the fibre surface modification on the tensile strength and flexibility of the produced composite system will be studied. The results will be used to optimise the treatment protocol and therefore the composite performance.


Su Bai
PhD student

Prof. Alexander Bismarck

Dorothy Hodgkinson Award & Gates


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