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Strong and super tough: Layered ceramic-polymer composites with bio-inspired morphology

: Pogorelov, Evgeny; Tushtev, Kamen; Arnebold, Andre; Koschek, Katharina; Hartwig, Andreas; Rezwan, Kurosch


Journal of the American Ceramic Society 101 (2018), No.10, pp.4732-4742
ISSN: 0002-7820
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IFAM ()
cationically curing epoxy resins; toughness; strength; mechanical property; layered ceramic; composite

Bio-inspired layered ceramic-polymer composites with high strength and toughness were prepared from sintered aluminum oxide ceramic sheets and cationically curing epoxy resins toughened with poly(e-caprolactone) (PCL). The architecture of the composite is inspired by nacre but is arranged on a larger scale. Ceramic sheets with a nominal thickness of 250 lm were assembled into composite plates by adhesive layers with a nominal thickness of 20 lm. Before the manufacturing of the composites, the stress-strain properties of the polymer component were tailored by the variation in the PCL content between 0 and 39 wt%. For composites with 4and 15 ceramic layers, the bending strengths achieved 327 MPa and 376 MPa, which are higher than that of pure ceramic sheets. Moreover, composites with 15ceramic layers show a 16 times higher toughness compared to that of the pure ceramic sheets. The results indicate that the toughness of the layered composites increases significantly with the number of layers. Inspired by the geometrical ratio of the natural sheet composite nacre, we have achieved a similar strength but a 2times higher toughness than nacre by only adding up to 6 vol% of the polymer.