The effect of fiber surface treatments on the relationship between the tensile strength of a filament and the shear strength of its interphase is one of the central issues facing composite materials technologists today. We demonstrate here that analysis of fragmentation phenomena in monofilament composites can simultaneously yield information about these two parameters. Characterization of shear stress transfer zones in non-critical fragments has led us to the determination of interphase strength.
A phenomenological treatment that highlights the role of the matrix in the fragmentation process is presented here. This analysis considers issues such as the strain energy exchange between a failing fiber and the matrix, as well as interphase relaxation due to the viscoelastic nature of the matrix. Our observations of the fragmentation phenomena in AU4/polycarbonate monofilament composites indicate that the fiber/matrix interaction in this system is governed by micromechanical locking.