Interlaminar fracture toughness for mode II deformation were investigated for carbon fiber (CF)/epoxy laminates toughened by carbon-nano-fiber/epoxy interlayer. Vapor grown carbon fiber (VGCF) and vapor grown carbon ‘nano’ fiber (VGNF) were chosen as the stiffeners for the interlayer. In order to illustrate the effect of the interlayer on the model II fracture toughness of the laminates, several types of CFRP/CNF hybrid laminates were fabricated, which are composed of unidirectional prepregs and carbon nano fiber varying the thickness of the interlayer. Mode II interlaminar fracture toughnesses of the hybrid composites were evaluated by end notched flexure (ENF) test using short-type beam specimens. The fracture toughnesses were calculated by traditional beam theory using the energy release rate of the crack. From the experimental results, it is confirmed that the mode II interlaminar fracture toughnesses for hybrid laminates are from 2.0 to 3.0 times higher than that of original CFRP laminates, and the optimal thickness (area density) of the CNF interlayer exists. The difference in the effect of the interlayer fracture properties under mode II deformation was discussed on the bases of fractographic observations derived from scanning electric microscope.

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