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Enhancing composite performance through optimized fiber-polymer interface adhesion
Water-based sizing solutions designed to optimize interfacial adhesion in composites using carbon fiber.
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Composites are quickly changing the way we drive, transport goods, generate energy, and more commonly, how industry handles problems that involve a maximum strength/minimal weight contradiction. The role sizing plays in the manufacture of composites is critical and complex. Our Hydrosize® family of products consists of sizing solutions that are specifically developed for use in the manufacturing of natural, carbon, and glass fibers, including chopped and continuous formats.
“Sizing” is a thin, homogenous coating applied to the surface of fibers during the manufacturing process. Not only does it protect the fiber during its production, but also during post-processing operations such as handling, spreading, weaving, compounding, and moulding. Additionally, it helps in processing fiber into intermediary forms such as fabrics, braids, thermoset prepreg, and thermoplastic organo sheets.
Fiber producers create their own, unique sizing formulations to deliver the best performance attributes to the fiber. These formulations are composed of water, silane coupling agents (specifically for glass and basalt fiber), film formers in dissolved, emulsified, or dispersed form, and a range of additives or modifiers such as surfactants, plasticizers, anti-static agents, antifoams, and rheology modifiers. These ingredients are carefully mixed together and delivered to the fiber to perfectly match the requirements of the targeted applications. Michelman has developed a range of lubricants, binders, and film formers exclusively formulated for the fiber manufacturing process that deal with the unique challenges faced by the industry.
When it comes to the manufacturing and further processing of fiber, the film former plays an important role in both the fiber’s physical characteristics and finished composite properties. It provides improved adhesion and facilitates effective load transfer between the fiber and the matrix polymer, while imparting mechanical properties such as tensile strength, fatigue resistance, and impact resistance. Hundreds of film former dispersions are commercially available, but only a small percentage of them are compatible with other sizing ingredients. Michelman’s technology allows customers to tailor the surface chemistry of reinforcement fibers to the chemistry of the matrix resin, thereby optimizing the interfacial adhesion between the polymers and fibers.
Stability is one of the key characteristics that fiber manufacturers take into consideration when selecting raw materials for their sizing formulations. There are 4 major effects of sizing variation on fiber production:
Sizing benefits composite performance by optimizing the fiber-polymer interfacial adhesion. Not only does it protect the freshly formed fiber surface from abrasion, prevent fiber breakage at contact points, and preserve chopped bundles of fiber; sizing enhances the performance of a number of mechanical and chemical properties:
Sizing optimizes the processability of fiber. Although sizing is a small percentage of fiber reinforced composites— normally 0.5 - 5% of its weight— it affects the production and the processing of the fiber, and has a significant impact on the interface properties between the fiber surface and the composite matrix.
The sizing is the “glue” when sized fiber is introduced to the resin matrix. The forces between sizing and matrix can be chemical bonding, hydrogen bonding, and Van der Waals interaction. Michelman takes a chemistry-agnostic approach to solving interface adhesion problems, creating custom solutions that are optimized for the myriad combinations of polymers, the fibers & fillers to which they are applied, and the various manufacturing processes used to produce composites.
News (Tuesday, 11 April 2023)
Improve fiber-polymer interface adhesion with Hydrosize® sizing solutions.