Hierarchical analysis of the fracture toughness enhancement of carbon nanotube- (CNT-) reinforced hard matrix composites is carried out on the basis of shear-lag theory and facture mechanics. It is found that stronger CNT/matrix interfaces cannot definitely lead to the better fracture toughness of these composites, and the optimal interfacial chemical bond density is that making the failure mode just in the transition from CNT pull-out to CNT break. For hard matrix composites, the fracture toughness of composites with weak interfaces can be improved effectively by increasing the CNT length. However, for soft matrix composite, the fracture toughness improvement due to the reinforcing CNTs quickly becomes saturated with an increase in CNT length. The proposed theoretical model is also applicable to short fiber-reinforced composites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)