Traditional composite materials invented to be used in structures with the purpose of high load-bearing with excellent in-plane properties. Continuous fiber reinforced composites are one of the mostly used categories of advanced composites. This class of composites has gained a lot of attention due to their light-weight and decent mechanical properties. However, additional material design is required to tune both mechanical and structural properties of these composites. Since the load transfer between reinforcement phase and polymer matrix happens at the interfacial region, a better interphase might result in a composite with higher vibration damping. In this study, a gradient interphase between carbon fiber and polymer matrix has been created by using ZnO nanowires to engineer the damping loss factor of the carbon fiber composites. For the growth of ZnO nanowires on the carbon fabric, low temperature hydrothermal reaction has been used. Then the carbon fabrics with ZnO nanowires were infiltrated with a low viscosity epoxy using vacuum assisted resin transfer molding technique. The stiffness and structural damping of the composite were examined using dynamic mechanical analysis. The results show that the damping properties of hybrid composites using ZnO nanowires are enhanced compare to the bare carbon fabric composites. Since the growth of ZnO nanowires is a tunable process, the length, diameter and aspect ratio of the nanowires and consequently the architecture of the interphase can be tailored for the desired vibration damping in the system. Thus, the hybrid composites with ZnO nanowire interphase can be used to enhance the energy dissipation in a structural system.

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