Nano-Composites: Relationships Between Nano-Structure and Mechanical Properties: Phase II
Final technical rept.
IMPERIAL COLL LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
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This work aims to understand and model the structureproperty relationships of polymer nanocomposites, based upon thermosetting epoxy polymers that are widely used as adhesives and matrices for fibre-reinforced composites. The work concentrates on investigating the mechanical and fracture properties of multiphase materials both bulk materials and reinforced fibre-composites, and on modelling the structureproperty relationships of nanocomposites. The present work shows that a substantial increase in toughness may be achieved when nano- SiO2 particles are well dispersed in a hot-cured single-part epoxy polymer. Most importantly, the synergistic effect of having a multiphase structure based upon both nano-SiO2 particles and rubbery particles is clearly demonstrated. The use of nano-SiO2 particles and rubbery particles to give hybrid-toughened epoxy polymers is shown to give a range of novel matrices which lead to an increased delamination toughness of the resulting carbon-fibre reinforced-plastic CFRP composites. Also, it is noteworthy, that the presence of even a relatively high concentration of the nano-SiO2 particles does not lead to a decrease in the modulus of the composite. Nor does it lead to a significant increase in the viscosity of the epoxy resin, which would preclude the use of low-cost manufacturing routes, such as a vacuum-assisted resin-transfer moulding VARTM process.
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