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Novel Thermoplastic Fibre-Metal Laminates Manufactured by Vacuum Resin Infusion: The Effect of Surface Treatments on Interfacial Bonding

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-344
JournalMaterials and Design
Early online date26 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


The manufacturing process of a new generation of thermoplastic fibre-metal laminates (TP-FMLs) was investigated. A vacuum assisted resin infusion method was used to produce the hybrid laminates. The effect of various chemical and physical treatments on the surface morphology of the aluminium (Al) alloy sheets and on the bond strength at the metal-composite interface was examined. The wettability, topography and chemical composition of the treated Al alloy sheets were studied by employing contact-angle goniometry, coherence scanning interferometry, profilometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The results showed that the applied treatments on the Al alloy sheet changed the surface morphology and surface energy in a different degree, which in turn effectively enhanced the interfacial bond strength between the constituents. In addition, the flexural, interlaminar shear strength and interlaminar fracture toughness of the manufactured TP-FMLs with the optimum metal surface treatment were evaluated. The experimental results of the TP-FMLs were compared to an equivalent thermoplastic composite. The composite-metal interface and the fracture surface characteristics were examined under scanning electron microscopy. In-situ polymerisation was found to play a key role in bonding the treated Al alloy with the composite layer during manufacturing.

    Research areas

  • A. Fibre-metal laminates; B. Thermoplastic matrix; C. Surface treatments; D. Interface bonding; E. Mechanical properties.

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