Letter | Published:

Tough fibrous composites

Naturevolume 254pages323324 (1975) | Download Citation



GORDON and Jeronimidis1 and Atkins2 have noted that increased fracture toughness in fibrous composites can be obtained by an enhanced decoupling of the fibre–matrix interface. Gordon1 has pointed out that in the case of wood (natural cellulose), the decoupling of the ‘reinforcing elements’ from the rest of the structure is stress dependent and the cells in the vicinity of the fracture face can extend by about 20 per cent before breaking, absorbing a great deal of energy in the process. The failing strain of the material as a whole is, however, about 1%. Atkins2 pointed out that increased wdrks of fracture can be obtained in boron fibre expoxy resin composites by arranging for a distribution of strongly and weakly bonded interfacial regions along the fibres. During crack propagation the weakly bonded regions allow greater lengths of fractured fibres to be pulled out of the matrix with a concomitant increase in the work of fracture. The tensile strength of the composite system is not affected significantly but the overall failing strain is again limited by the failing strain of the reinforcing fibres to about 1%.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Gordon, J. E., and Jeronimidis, G., Nature, 252, 116 (1974).

  2. 2

    Atkins, A. G., Nature, 252, 116–118 (1974).

  3. 3

    Morley, J. G., Proc. R. Soc., A 319, 117–126 (1970).

  4. 4

    Morley, J. G., Composites, 2 (2), 80–84 (1971).

  5. 5

    Morley, J. G., 23rd Int. Congr. pure appl. Chem., 8, 311–317 (1971).

  6. 6

    Morley, J. G. Properties of Fibre Composites, Conference Proceedings, National Physical Laboratory, 33–35 (IPC Science and Technology Press, London, 1971).

  7. 7

    Morley, J. G., and Millman, R. S., J. Mater. Sci., 9, 1171–1182 (1974).

  8. 8

    Morley, J. G., Discuss. Faraday Soc., 2, 109–116 (1972).

  9. 9

    Morley, J. G. in The Microstructure and Design of Alloys. Proc. 3rd int. Conf. Strength of Metals and Alloys, 232–236 (Cambridge, 1973).

  10. 10

    Morley, J. G., and McColl, I. R., J. appl. Phys., J. Phys. D., 8 1, 15–33 (1975).

  11. 11

    Morley, J. G., Chem. Br., 10 (12) (1974).

  12. 12

    Chappell, M. J., add Millman, R. S., J. Mater. Sci., 9, 1933–1948 (1974).

Download references

Author information


  1. Wolfson Institute of Interfacial Technology, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, N97 2RD, UK

    • J. G. MORLEY


  1. Search for J. G. MORLEY in:

About this article

Publication history


Issue Date




By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.