2D graphene and its derivatives have been receiving increasing attention, due to its extraordinary properties, opening the window of opportunity to develop materials and devices with novel functionalities. Graphene derivatives, graphite fluoride and fluorinated graphene (GF), which exhibits excellent properties, such as extremely low surface energy, high chemical inertness and thermal stability, and it is an ideal filler material for polymer composites. But GF usually has large contact angles with most of the liquids due to its extremely low surface energy, which leads to its poor dispersion and stability in solvents and polymers. Hence, it is pivotal to study on the fabrication of high-quality GF and its dispersion in various systems.
In our research, the laminates of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites were synthesized through optimized Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM). In order to reduce the surface defects and the existence of pinhole phenomena, we extended our research mainly by epoxy resin modification, especially by the introduction of GF. We have explored a core dispersion technique to obtain a stable GF dispersed system. With the well dispersion of GF in epoxy resin, the liquidity of the resin was affected, which increased the wettability to fiber and lead to much less surface defects and porosity. The final CFRP composite appeared improved mechanical, hydrophobicity, sorption and corrosion property.
It is believed that this manufacturing process will be potential to mass-produce hydrophobic CFRPs with high strength and modulus. Thus, such-prepared GF can be more widely applied in biomedical, aerospace, automobile and wherever potentially graphene and 2D materials can be applied to.