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Periodic Bicontinuous Composites for High Specific Energy Absorption

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-08-08, 00:00 authored by Jae-Hwang Lee, Lifeng Wang, Mary C. Boyce, Edwin L. Thomas
We report on the mechanical behavior of an interpenetrating carbon/epoxy periodic submicrometer-scale bicontinuous composite material fabricated following the design principles deduced from biological composites. Using microscopic uniaxial compressive tests, the specific energy absorption is quantitatively evaluated and compared with the epoxy/air and carbon/air precursors. The carbon/epoxy material demonstrates extremely high specific energy absorption up to 720 kJ/kg and shear-dominant interphase interactions from the interlocked hard (carbon) and soft (epoxy) phases. Such bicontinuous nanocomposites are a new type of structural metamaterial with designed cell topology and mechanical anisotropy. Their inherent small length scale can play a critical role in prohibiting segregated mechanical responses leading to flaw tolerance.