Carbon fiber reinforced materials are widely used in products from golf clubs to the world’s most advanced aircraft due to their high-strength, lightweight, and stable characteristics. Mussel Polymers, Inc., a specialty materials and coatings company, announced that it has successfully coated carbon and aramid fibers with its Poly(catechol-styrene) (PCS), which is a step forward in producing lighter, stronger fiber-reinforced composites.
PCS coatings improve bonding for a wide range of adhesive and composite chemistries while making material surfaces more functional. This application of PCS is likely to significantly increase the strength and impact energy of fiber-reinforced materials and improve the use of coatings and adhesives with carbon fiber parts and materials.
While carbon and aramid fibers possess many positive attributes, they are notoriously difficult to bond with because they’re smooth and chemically inert.
Previous work coating carbon and aramid fibers with Polydopamine (PDA), a catechol containing research agent like PCS, showed that the shear strength of a single coated fiber pulled from its matrix increased over 200% compared to that of a raw fiber.
Further, the flexural strength and impact energy of reinforced composites made with the catechol coated fibers increased over 200%.
“The MPI team successfully coated carbon and aramid fibers with PCS using a simple one-step, room temperature process,” shares Jason Stieg, CCO with Mussel Polymers. “These coated fibers were examined under the scanning electron microscope at Lehigh University. The resulting images were striking and showed complete coverage of the fibers. The ability of our polymer to bond to these surfaces has applicability in both advanced composite materials and the assembly and coating of carbon fiber parts.”
PCS is the first commercially available catechol compound used to coat carbon fibers, among its many other uses.
“We are excited to have expanded the uses of our Poly(catechol-styrene),” says company CEO, George Boyajian. “With this development allowing for stronger, lightweight materials, we will expand our partnerships with new materials and products companies. The simplicity of this coating process may accelerate its adoption and allow for safer and more environmentally sound materials.”
Mussel Polymers is currently in discussions to jointly develop new composite materials with its PCS.