Modeling the Role of Bulk and Surface Characteristics of Carbon Fiber on Thermal Conductance across the Carbon-Fiber/Matrix Interface

V Varshney and AK Roy and JW Baur, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 7, 26674-26683 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b08591

The rapid heating of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites leads to complex thermophysical interactions which not only are dependent on the thermal properties of the constituents and microstructure but are also dependent on the thermal transport between the fiber and resin interfaces. Using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, the thermal conductance across the interface between a carbon-fiber near-surface region and bismaleimide monomer matrix is calculated as a function of the interface and bulk features of the carbon fiber. The surface of the carbon fiber is modeled as sheets of graphitic carbon with (a) varying degrees of surface functionality, (b) varying defect concentrations in the surface-carbon model (pure graphitic vs partially graphitic), (c) varying orientation of graphitic carbon at the interface, (d) varying interface saturation (dangling vs saturated bonds), (e) varying degrees of surface roughness, and (f) incorporating high conductive fillers (carbon nanotubes) at the interface. After combining separately equilibrated matrix system and different surface-carbon models, thermal energy exchange is investigated in terms of interface thermal conductance across the carbon fiber and the matrix. It is observed that modifications in the studied parameters (a-f) often lead to significant modulation of thermal conductance across the interface and, thus, showcases the role of interface tailoring and surface-carbon morphology toward thermal energy exchange. More importantly, the results provide key bounds and a realistic degree of variation to the interface thermal conductance values at fiber/matrix interfaces as a function of different surface-carbon features.

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