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Microfibrillated cellulose applied to structural polymer composite laminates

Abstract

The use of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) as hierarchical substructure in multilayer polymer composite laminates is proposed, in which MFC will play dual roles: (i) as a toughening agent when dispersed in the epoxy resin matrix, and (ii) as an interfacial agent between the toughened polymer matrix and the continuous neat reinforcing glass fibers. The project contemplates the design, manufacturing, mechanical proof by ballistic impact testing, besides the characterization from macro to nanostructural scales of high performance / cost ratio composite laminate, which exhibits lower environmental impact than conventional fiber-reinforced laminates. The pré-treatment of the as-received waterborne MFC via polar organic solvent exchange process is proposed in order to enable its complete and uniform volumetric dispersion in hydrophilic and hydrofobic epoxy resin systems, as well as to provide homogeneous and efficient covering of the reinforcing glass fibers by MFC before the composite manufacturing process via vacuum-assisted liquid resin infusion. The present proposal relies on: (i) the highly positive experience gained by GECoM over the last years in the development and improvement of an innovative methodology at world level (already patented in Brazil and whose results have been recently published in four 04 international indexed periodicals with high impact factors) concerning the use of MFC as hierarchical coupling agent between epoxy resin and continuous neat reinforcing glass and carbon fibers, (ii) the GECoM's expertise in conducting a wide range of thermal and mechanical tests on structural composite laminates, and (iii) the GECoM's competence on failure analysis techniques applied to fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composite laminates from macro to nanoscales. (AU)

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