Highly Impact-Resistant Silk Fiber Thermoplastic Composites

Aart Willem Van Vuure, Yasmine Mosleh*, Jan Vanderbeke, Ignaas Verpoest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Silk fibers combine good stiffness and strength with a very high strain to failure and are as such highly promising to realize composites with high impact resistance. It is shown that to realize this potential it is quite beneficial to employ matrix materials of high strain to failure, particularly thermoplastic matrices. High impact resistance is thus achieved, well above the values for the pure matrices. Below the glass-transition temperature of the thermoplastic matrix, the impact energy absorption decreases. The adhesion between fiber and matrix also plays a significant role; lower adhesion typically increases the low-velocity penetration impact resistance, due to the spread of damage. Finally, the fiber architecture is pivotal; when a woven fabric is used which is unbalanced in strength, the impact resistance reduces in correspondence with the weakest material direction. A quasi-isotropic layup has a lower capacity for deformation than a balanced woven configuration which likely explains the observed lower penetration impact resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300080
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Engineering Materials
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • fiber/matrix adhesion
  • impact
  • silk fibers
  • thermoplastic FRP composites
  • toughness


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