Fiber volume ratio is an important mathematical element in composite engineering. Fiber volume ratio, or fiber volume fraction, is the percentage of fiber volume in the entire volume of a fiber-reinforced composite material. When manufacturing polymer composites, fibers are impregnated with resin. The amount of resin to fiber ratio is calculated by the geometric organization of the fibers, which affects the amount of resin that can enter the composite. The impregnation around the fibers is highly dependent on the orientation of the fibers and the architecture of the fibers.
The geometric analysis of the composite can be seen in the cross-section of the composite. Voids are often formed in a composite structure throughout the manufacturing process and must be calculated into the total fiber volume fraction of the composite. The fraction of fiber reinforcement is very important in determining the overall mechanical properties of a composite. A higher fiber volume fraction typically results in better mechanical properties of the composite.
This procedure involves the digestion of the polymer matrix using an acid which does not attack the fibers. Following digestion, the remaining fibers are washed, dried, and weighed. Knowing the initial weight of the composite specimen as well as the densities of the fiber and resin, the volume fraction of both the fiber and matrix in the original laminate may be determined. This method is generally used for composites composed of carbon fiber reinforcement
Optical microscopy-based techniques involve potting sectioned samples of the laminate, polished using standard metallographic techniques, and obtaining digital cross-sectional photomicrographs using an optical microscope and magnifications between 100 and 2500. Digital images may be recorded at a number of locations along the length and through-the-thickness of the laminate. Computer programs aid in the analysis of fiber ratio in the photomicrograph of the polished composite specimen. This method is preferred as a non-destructive approach to determining fiber volume fraction.