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Surface damage of unidirectional carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites under reciprocating sliding in ambient air

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For many technical applications friction and wear are critical issues. Reinforced polymer-matrix composites are widely used under vibrating contact condition in various automotive and aerospace applications as well as in structural engineering. In this paper, the friction and wear of bulk epoxy and unidirectional carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composite have been investigated under reciprocating sliding against either alumina or stainless steel balls in ambient air. The effect of sliding direction with respect to the long and unidirectional carbon fibers has been studied. We demonstrate that the carbon fiber reinforcement greatly improves the tribological properties of the thermoset epoxy: it reduces the coefficient of friction and the debris formation. It was found that on sliding in the anti-parallel direction a more significant degradation takes place than in the parallel direction. The coefficient of friction measured on bulk epoxy sliding against either stainless steel or alumina is around 0.65, whereas the coefficient of friction measured on epoxy reinforced with carbon fibers is significantly lower, namely down to 0.11. It was found that sliding with a stainless steel ball in a direction parallel to the fiber orientation results in a lower coefficient of friction than sliding in anti-parallel direction. The reduced coefficient of friction is largely influenced by the carbon fiber reinforcement due to the auto-protecting film formed as a paste in the contact area and along the wear track edges. The relationship between friction and degradation of the composite material including surface wear and debris formation are discussed based on an in-depth analysis of the worn surfaces by optical and scanning electron microscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy, and white light interferometry. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Tijdschrift: Composites Science and Technology
ISSN: 0266-3538
Issue: 15
Volume: 71
Pagina's: 1769 - 1776
Jaar van publicatie:2011
BOF-publication weight:2
CSS-citation score:1
Authors from:Higher Education