Design and manufacturing of a novel shear thickening fluid composite (STFC) with enhanced out-of-plane properties and damage suppression

F. Pinto, M. Meo

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84 Citations (SciVal)


The ability to absorb a large amount of energy during an impact event without generating critical damages represents a key feature of new generation composite systems. Indeed, the intrinsic layered nature of composite materials allows the embodiment of specific hybrid plies within the stacking sequence that can be exploited to increase impact resistance and damping of the entire structure without dramatic weight increase. This work is based on the development of an impact-resistant hybrid composite obtained by including a thin layer of Non-Newtonian silica based fluid in a carbon fibres reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminate. This hybrid phase is able to respond to an external solicitation by activating an order-disorder transition that thickens the fluid increasing its viscosity, hence dissipating the energy impact without any critical failure. Several Shear Thickening Fluids (STFs) were manufactured by changing the dimensions of the particles that constitute the disperse phase and their concentrations into the continuous phase. The dynamic viscosity of the different STFs was evaluated via rheometric tests, observing both shear thinning and shear thickening effects depending on the concentration of silica particles. The solutions were then embedded as an active layer within the stacking sequence to manufacture the hybrid CFRP laminates with different embedded STFs. Free vibration tests were carried out in order to assess the damping properties of the different laminates, while low velocity impact tests were used to evaluate their impact properties. Results indicate that the presence of the non-Newtonian fluid is able to absorb up to 45 % of the energy during an impact event for impacts at 2.5 m/s depending on the different concentrations and particles dimensions. These results were confirmed via C-Scan analyses to assess the extent of the internal delamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-660
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Composite Materials
Issue number3
Early online date27 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017


  • Delamination
  • Impact damage
  • Shear thicknening fluid


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