Influence of fiber alignment on pseudoductility and microcracking in a cementitious carbon fiber composite material

Matthias Rutzen, Philipp Lauff, Roland Niedermeier, Oliver Fischer, Manuel Raith, Christian U. Grosse, Ursula Weiss, Malte A. Peter, Dirk Volkmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This research examines the effect of fiber alignment on the performance of an exceptionally tough 3D-printable short carbon fiber reinforced cementitious composite material, the flexural strength of which can exceed 100 N/mm2. The material shows pseudoductility caused by strain-hardening and microcracking. An extrusion-based manufacturing process allows accurate control over the spatial alignment of the fibers’ orientation, since extrusion through a tight nozzle leads to nearly unidirectional alignment of the fibers with respect to the directional movement of the nozzle. Specimens were investigated using mechanical tests (flexural and tensile load), augmented by non-destructive methods such as X-ray 3D computed tomography and acoustic emission analysis to gain insight into the microstructure. Additionally, digital image correlation is used to visualize the microcracking process. X-ray CT confirms that about 70% of fibers show less than 10° deviation from the extrusion direction. Systematic variations of the fiber alignment with respect to the direction of tensile load show that carbon fibers enhance the flexural strength of the test specimens as long as their alignment angle does not deviate by more than 20° from the direction of the acting tensile stress. Acoustic emission analysis is capable of evaluating the spatiotemporal degradation behavior during loading and shows consistent results with the microstructural damage observed in CT scans. The strong connection of fiber alignment and flexural strength ties into a change from ductile to brittle failure caused by degradation on a microstructural level, as seen by complementary results acquired from the aforementioned methods of investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
JournalMaterials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Fiber reinforcement
  • Microcracking
  • Strain-hardening
  • Tensile properties
  • X-ray CT


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