Growth of carbon nanotubes (CNT) or carbon nano-fibres (CNF) on carbon fibrous substrates is a way to increase the fracture toughness of fibre reinforced composites (FRC), with encouraging results reported in the recent years. If these nano-engineered FRC (nFRC) are destined to leave laboratories and enter industrial-scale production, a question of adapting the existing composite manufacturing methods will arise. The paper studies compressibility of woven carbon fibre performs (two types of fabrics) with CNT/CNF grown on the fibres using the CVD method. The results include pressure vs thickness and pressure vs fibre volume fraction diagrams for one and four layers of the fabric. Morphology of the nFRC is studied with SEM. It is shown that the pressure needed to achieve the target fibre volume fraction of the preform increases drastically (for example, from 0.05 MPa to more than 0.5 MPa for a fibre volume fraction of 52%) when CNT/CNF are grown on it. No change in nesting of the fabric plies is noticed. The poor compressibility can lower the achievable fibre volume fraction in composite for economical vacuum assisted light-RTM techniques and increase the pressure requirements in autoclave processing.
- Mechanical properties