Rotorcraft components, which are often made with reinforced fiber composites, are subjected to severe fatigue loadings due to increased performance demands. Therefore, considerable research interest exists in improving fatigue life of conventional fiber reinforced composites. Nanocomposites are a new class of materials which seek to improve mechanical performance of materials by creating nanoscale crack-nanofiller interactions. In this study we demonstrate the fatigue life improvement of conventional composites by addition of SiO2 nanofillers. The epoxy resin was initially modified with nanofillers to test the static fracture toughness. Once the improvement in static facture toughness was confirmed, three phase modified fiber reinforced composites were made using the modified resin. Cyclic tests were performed at various stress level which demonstrate that three phase nanocomposites perform better than conventional fiber reinforced composites. Fractographic analysis suggests that nanofiller de-bonding from the matrix as well as crack deflection around nanofiller clusters contributes to the improved fracture toughness and fatigue life.
Proceedings of the 75th Vertical Flight Society Annual Forum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 13-16, 2019.