Polydopamine as sizing on carbon fiber surfaces for enhancement of epoxy laminated composites

Wei Han, Hongping Zhang, Javad Tavakoli, Jonathan Campbell, Youhong Tang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    68 Citations (Scopus)


    Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminate normally has plastic dominant crack propagation behavior, inducing potential insecurity in the safety and reliability of structures in practical applications. In this study, we report a simple process to increase the stability of crack growth by using polydopamine (PDA) as sizing on the surface of carbon fiber (CF) fabric. The crack propagation behavior changes from a saw-tooth-shaped curve in neat CFRP laminate to a relatively smooth trending curve in PDA coated CFRP laminate with increased Mode I interlaminar fracture toughness. Enhanced impact strength and interlaminar shear strength of PDA coated CFRP laminates is also observed. A single fiber pull-out experiment and morphological study reveal that, with PDA coating on CF fabrics, cracks tend to fracture through the epoxy matrix rather than between fiber and matrix interfaces. The use of PDA as sizing on the CF contributes to improving the load transfer between the CF and the polymer matrix by enhancing the interfaces between the epoxy and the CF, increasing the friction of the fractured interface, reducing unstable crack growth, and thereby enhancing interfacial fracture toughness and impact performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)626-632
    Number of pages7
    JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


    • A. Carbon fibres
    • B. Delamination
    • Fibre/matrix bond
    • Surface properties


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