The aim of this thematic network is to facilitate exchange,
integration and creation of know-how through partner
cooperation on industrially relevant research for the
development of new light weight composite materials in order to contribute to a competitive 'car of tomorrow' based on ongoing research in the cooperating industries, universities and
The technical objective of this proposal is to develop new and rational means of characterizing 'interphases' of polymer
matrix and reinforcing fibres in real composites of various
fibre architectures and matrix properties. The goal is to find structure-property relations which can be used to produce
tailor-made composite materials. The deliverables will be
proper bases for improvement of composite properties caused by better fibre-matrix interaction. Thus, there is a strong need of the automotive industry for low cost composites having
higher mechanical performances.
Various micromechanical (fibre fragmentation, pull-out,
microindentation, microdebond) and macromechanical (tensile, bending, shear, impact, dynamic loading) test methods are used to determine 'characteristics' of fibre-matrix interaction.
The comprehensive experimental investigations will provide
input to computational mechanics activities aimed at modeling failure mechanisms and interpreting causes of, and driving
forces for, fibre-matrix interaction.
The cooperation proposed includes research groups dealing with micro- and macro-mechanical test methods with the aim of
developing rational ways of characterizing the structureproperty relations of defined polymer composite systems and
therefore improving the composite properties.
The network objective is to establish a critical mass of
European research scientists and engineers with the necessary balance of knowledge and skills in analytical, numerical and experimental mechanics of composite materials in order to
access the world-wide technical base in this field. The
network has also the ambition to develop a virtual laboratory team capable of meeting scientific objectives based on
industrial demands of polymer reinforcement from composite
manufacturers and end-users which have been up to now beyond the individual capabilities of research groups.
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP
The transnational nature of the proposed project is due to its complexity. Seven leading groups in this field of research
will work together with five teams of large European Companies. The participation of the Israeli partner is proposed because of its merits in the field of interphase modelling and
This project will produce guidelines on how to tailor the
interphase with respect to the requested mechanical
performance. The project is clearly of precompetitive nature. It means that the results may be of great importance for fibre and resin manufactures, compounders and last but not least endusers of composites. The main goal of material development is a better cost/performance ratio, with particular reference to
The results of this programme will be utilized in different
ways. Partners will check how far the results achieved on
selected fibre/matrix combinations can be 'generalized' and
will elaborate guidelines for property tailoring of composites. In addition, round-robin tests on the assessment of interfacial effects will trigger concentrated actions for standardization of various testing methods.
About half of the partners are from academia. Their research work is described in the network tasks and includes
characterization, modelling and scaling up. The main role of the industrial partners involved is to screen and control
activities from the industrial needs point of view. Industrial partners will provide also well-characterized reinforcing
fibres and polymeric matrices for composite applications, as well as expertise in macroscopic testing of end-use
applications. This strong link between industry and academia will contribute to a successful R&D work on the interfacial
control of the mechanical performance of polymeric composites.
Composite materials are made of polymers (non-polar or
functionalized) and compatibly sized or surface-treated
reinforcing fibres. Reliable control of the degree of adhesion between the fibre and the matrix is required if a composite is to be used as a structural material. Optimization and
tailoring of the fibre/matrix interfacial properties are
possible provided that reliable quantitative methods for the measurement of interfacial properties are available, and that the mechanisms of interfacial adhesion are properly
The research groups involved will cooperate to fulfill the
needs of industry. This should resolve currently unanswered contradictions concerning the strength of interfaces as
compared to the strength of bulk matrix. The aim is to bridge the currently unfilled gap between mechanical measurements of interface adhesion performed with model laboratory-scale
microcomposites and macroscopic tests that are simpler to
perform but do not explain the mechanisms of adhesion and
interaction influenced by fibre surface treatment, wetting,
interphase, curing and/or consolidation cycle. This reserach activity could lead to new standardized methods of fibrepolymer adhesion measurement procedures and to the development of better tailored interfaces and to more reliable and safer composites.
Funding SchemeTHN - Thematic network contracts
3818 LE Amersfoort
405 15 Goeteborg
1030 BN Amsterdam
M60 1QD Manchester
S1 3JD Sheffield