Enhancing fracture toughness of glass/epoxy composites by using rubber particles together with silica nanoparticles

Jia-Lin Tsai*, Bao Hung Huang, Yi Lieh Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The research aims to investigate the interlaminar fracture toughness of glass fiber/epoxy composites, which consist of the silica nanoparticles and the rubber particles. Two kinds of rubber particles, one is the reactive liquid rubber (CTBN) and the other is the core-shell rubber (CSR), were employed to modify the fracture toughness of epoxy resin. In general, the disadvantage of adding rubber particles into polymeric resin is the dramatic reduction of stiffness although the toughness could be modified accordingly. In order to enhance the fracture toughness of the fiber composites without sacrificing their stiffness, the silica nanoparticles in conjunction with the rubber particles were introduced into the epoxy matrix to form a hybrid nanocomposite. Experimental results obtained from tensile tests on bulk epoxy confirm the presumption that the reduction of the epoxy stiffness because of the presence of rubber particles can be effectively compensated by the silica nanoparticles. Furthermore, the fracture tests conducted on the double cantilever beam specimens revealed that the inclusion of silica nanoparticles together with the CSR particle can appreciably increase the fracture toughness of the glass/epoxy composites up to 82%. On the other hand, when the epoxy matrices were modified with CTBN rubber particles and silica nanoparticles, the improvement of the interlaminar fracture toughness was around 48%. It is noted that the role of the silica nanoparticles on the fracture toughness of fiber composites with rubber-modified epoxy matrix is different. For the CSR-modified epoxy matrix, the contribution of silica nanoparticle on the fracture toughness is destructive. In contrast, for the CTBN-modified epoxy matrix, the silica nanoparticles can synchronously improve the fracture toughness of composites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3107-3123
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number25
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Composites
  • Double cantilever beam (DCB).
  • Fracture toughness
  • Silica nanoparticles

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