A novel approach to functionalise pristine unsized carbon fibre using in situ generated diazonium species to enhance interfacial shear strength†
Complex molecules have been successfully grafted onto the surface of unsized carbon fibre, a heterogeneous material which is a challenge to functionalise. The in situ generation of highly reactive phenyldiazo-species from their corresponding anilines was employed to achieve this task. The success of an initial proof-of-concept study (bearing a nitro moiety) supported by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and physical characterisation, led to the design and synthesis of a more complex compound possessing a pendant amine moiety which could theoretically react with an epoxide based resin. After attachment to unsized oxidised fibres, analysis by XPS of the resulting fibres (fluorine used as an XPS tag) indicated a marked difference in functionalisation success which was attributed to steric factors, shown to be critical in influencing the attachment of the phenyldiazo-intermediate to the carbon fibre surface. Analysis of key fibre performance parameters of these fibres showed no change in elastic modulus, strength, surface topography or microscopic roughness when compared to the control unsized oxidised fibres. The functionalised fibres did however show a large increase in coefficient of friction. Single fibre fragmentation tests indicated a marked increase in interfacial shear strength, which was attributed to the pendent amine functionalities interacting with the epoxy resin.