Low-velocity impact behavior of UHMWPE fabric/thermoplastic laminates with combined surface treatments of polydopamine and functionalized carbon nanotubes

Logesh SHANMUGAM, M. E. KAZEMI, Zhonghong LI, Wenjun LUO, Yong XIANG, Lei YANG*, Jinglei YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Thermoplastic fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites play a significant role in industrial applications due to their high energy absorbing capability. Combining ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber/fabric and infusible thermoplastic methyl methacrylate (MMA) based matrix forms a complete thermoplastic composite system, which can fulfil the demands of being lightweight and high energy absorption during an impact loading. Among many different parameters, the interfacial bonding strength between fiber and matrix plays an important role in determining the impact performance of a composite system. In this study, the interfacial bonding strength between UHMWPE fibers and MMA thermoplastic matrix is improved by a simple deposition of polydopamine (PDA) surface treatment (on the fiber surface) with the addition of 0.03 wt% of functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). Experimental investigations were carried out to determine the low-velocity impact behavior on the pristine and PDA surface-treated thermoplastic composites at three different impact energies of 26 J, 32 J, and 50 J. The results after the impact test revealed that PDA and PDA with MWCNT fiber surface-treated composites offer less structural damage, thanks to the improved delamination resistance at the fiber and matrix interface when compared to that of the pristine composite at all different impact energies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100527
Number of pages12
JournalComposites Communications
Early online date15 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful to the support from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Grant #: R9365), the NSFC/HK-RGC Joint Research Scheme (Grant#: N_HKUST 631/18), Nanhai-HKUST Program (Grant #: FSNH-18FYTRI01), and Guangzhou Science, Technology and Innovation Commission (Project #: 201907010028). The authors would like to acknowledge Dr Dong Brian and Dr Jinchun Zhu of Arkema, Changshu Research and Development Center, China, for providing Elium® resin.


  • Fiber and matrix bonding
  • Low-velocity impact
  • Surface treatment
  • UHMWPE fibers


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