Factors controlling the strength of carbon fibres in tension

Fumihiko Tanaka, Tomonaga Okabe, Haruki Okuda, Ian A. Kinloch, Robert J. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


We have investigated the fracture mechanisms of different types of carbon fibres, in terms of skin-core differences in single fibres, flaw size and fracture toughness. The fibre strength distribution was measured precisely using the fragmentation test for single-fibre composites. The failure probability for intermediate/high modulus types fibres was found to be constant with fibre strength in the range 2-4 GPa, but in contrast the strength scatter for high modulus type fibres was reduced. The fracture toughness of the carbon fibres, determined by introducing notches with lengths in range 60-200 nm, was found to be about 1.1 MPa m1/2. The average flaw size of the carbon fibres increased with increasing fibre modulus, suggesting that the crack growth of surface flaws on the tens-of-nm scale occurred. This appears to be the main reason for the reduction in tensile strength during the carbonisation treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalComposites - Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • A. Carbon fibre
  • B. Defects
  • B. Fracture toughness
  • B. Strength
  • C. Micro-mechanics


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