Production and Anisotropic Tensile Behavior of
Resin-Metal Interpenetrating Phase Composites
Zhaoyao Zhou, Bibo Yao,* Liuyang Duan, and Jie Qin
Metal-polymer composites can be used to synthesize material properties. A
variety of interpenetrating phase composites have been produced by
spontaneously infiltrating porous short-fiber preforms with unsaturated
polyester resin under vacuum conditions. Porous preforms are fabricated by
compacting and sintering short 304 stainless steel fibers from cutting
stainless steel fiber ropes. Tensile experiments are conducted, and fracto-
graphs are examined via scanning electron microscopy. The results reveal
that the tensile strength, elongation at maximum stress, and elasticity
modulus of the IPCs increase with the increasing fiber fractions and exhibit
anisotropy in different directions. The tensile strength and elongation at
maximum stress are significantly improved compared with the consistent
preforms. A nonlinear elastic behavior and sawtooth-like fluctuation during
yield deformation are noted. Compared with the through-thickness direction,
a higher tensile strength and larger elongation at maximum stress are
observed in the in-plane direction. Finer-diameter fibers can improve the
strength and increase the elongation at maximum stress. The tensile fracture
surfaces show a mixture of brittle and plastic fracture characteristics.
The demand for lighter, stiffer, stronger, and tougher structural
components requires development of novel materials.
interpenetrating phase composite (IPC) is a new type of
composite structure with a matrix and reinforcement phase
that form a completely interconnected three-dimensional
Traditional composites are composed of a continu-
ous phase with one or more discrete reinforcement phases, such
as ﬁbers, whiskers, or particles,
which are uniquely different
from the interpenetrating microstructure. Particles, whiskers
and ﬁber reinforcements are dispersed in the matrix, and uneven
dispersion occurs in the process of preparation.
improve the elastic and yield properties relative to traditional
composites due to their interpenetrating microstructure and
good transmission of stresses between phases.
contributes properties to the composite to synergistically form
the functional characteristics,
preventing crack propagation in three-
The nature of the
ﬁber, type of matrix, and interface proper-
ties can signiﬁcantly inﬂuence the proper-
ties of the composite materials.
Currently, the main concern related to
IPCs is focused on interpenetrating net-
work metal-ceramic composites. The proc-
essing and properties of metal/ceramic
IPCs have been reported in a number of
Etter et al.
graphite/aluminum composites with an
interpenetrating network microstructure
and demonstrated that both ﬂexural
strength and fracture toughness for IPC
were increased by 200% for the un-
inﬁltrated material at room temperature.
The effective Young’s moduli of Al–Al
composites were experimentally and theo-
retically investigated by Moon et al.
Metal/metal IPCs have also attracted the
attention of investigators, and their unique
structures can improve their proper-
As the use of polymer composites rapidly increases
in different ﬁelds,
it becomes necessary to investigate
polymer composites comprehensively. The ceramic-polymer
composite materials can be used to synthesize the properties,
that is, the hardness and stiffness of the ceramic and elasticity of
the polymer, and have been widely investigated.
studies on metal-polymer IPCs are rarely reported. Gong et al.
tested the compressive and energy absorption behaviors of
aluminum foam-polypropylene and aluminum foam-epoxy
interpenetrating composites and found that the compressive
modulus of the foam was improved by the presence of the
polymer. Wegner et al.
described an experimental and
modeling investigation of the mechanical properties of a type
of resin/316L stainless steel IPC. The tensile strength increased
from 74.9 to 294.1 MPa, as the 316L stainless steel increased
from 65.0 to 90.7 vol%. Veenstra et al.
blends with co-continuous morphologies and compared their
mechanical properties with those based on the same polymers
with a droplet/matrix morphology. The elastic moduli of
co-continuous blends were signiﬁcantly higher without a notable
drop in the tensile and impact strengths compared with those
processed from dispersed blends. Dukhan et al.
aluminum foam-polypropylene interpenetrating phase compo-
sites and revealed that the combination of the polymer and metal
foam was stiffer than either of the two individual components.
Control of the 3D microstructure is one of the difﬁculties in
Prof. Dr. Z. Zhou, Dr. B. Yao, Dr. L. Duan, J. Qin
Guangdong Key Laboratory for Processing and Forming of Advanced
Metallic Materials, School of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering,
South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, People’s
Republic of China
Adv. Eng. Mater. 2018, 20, 1700669 © 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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