Synthesis and characterization of mechanical, thermal and flammability properties of epoxy based nanocomposites

Kop, Erhan
Polymer-clay nanocomposites have received a lot of attention because of outstanding improvements in properties when compared with neat polymeric materials. The aim of this study was to prepare epoxy-clay nanocomposites by mixing organically modified montmorillonite with an epoxy resin and to investigate the effects of clay content on the mechanical, thermal and flammability properties of the resultant nanocomposites. The production of the epoxy-clay nanocomposites was accomplished by in-situ polymerization. In the nanocomposite synthesis, organically modified clay content was varied from 1 wt.% to 9 wt.%. Araldite LY556 epoxy resin, Aradur 918 anhydride hardener, and DY070 imidazole type accelerator were used in the epoxy system. Closite 30B, an organoclay modified with methyl, tallow, bis-2-hydroxyethyl, quaternary ammonium chloride (MT2EtOH), was used as the clay material. X-ray diffraction results showed that d-spacing between the platelets of organoclay increased from 1.80 nm to 4.4 nm. The microstructures of nanocomposites were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The SEM micrographs indicated that at 1 wt.% clay loading, no clay aggregates were observed. On the other hand, beyond 1 wt.% clay loading, formation of clay agglomerations was observed. Tensile strength and tensile strain values of nanocomposites decreased with clay loading. The tensile strength value of neat epoxy resin decreased from 55 MPa to 29 MPa with 9 % clay loading. On the other hand, Young’s modulus increased with clay content and a maximum value was obtained at 5 wt. % clay loading. At 9 % clay loading, Young’s modulus value was 26 % higher than that of the neat epoxy resin. Impact strength property had a minimum value at 7 wt. % clay content. Flexural strength and flexural strain at break property behaved in a similar trend. They had a minimum value at 5 % clay loading. At this clay loading, flexural strength value became approximately 43 % lower compared to the flexural strength of the neat epoxy resin. On the other hand, at 9 wt.% clay loading flexural modulus value increased approximately 48 % compared to the pure epoxy resin. Up to 7 wt.% clay ratio, initial decomposition temperature of epoxy resin was slightly improved. Also, according to TGA results, amount of char formation increased with clay loading. DSC results indicate that Tg of the cured nanocomposite resins decreased from 147 oC to 129 oC with 9 wt. % clay loading. The flammability of neat epoxy resin was not significantly affected with Cloisite 30B addition.


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Citation Formats
E. Kop, “Synthesis and characterization of mechanical, thermal and flammability properties of epoxy based nanocomposites,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2007.