Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-dnltx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-19T16:04:50.728Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Investigation of the flexural and thermomechanical properties of nanoclay/graphene reinforced carbon fiber epoxy composites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2019

Md Sarower Tareq
Center for Advanced Materials, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama 36088, USA
S. Zainuddin*
Center for Advanced Materials, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama 36088, USA
E. Woodside
Center for Advanced Materials, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama 36088, USA
F. Syed
Center for Advanced Materials, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama 36088, USA
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
Get access


Flexural and thermomechanical properties of the epoxy-based carbon fiber composites (CFCs) on addition of single and binary nanoparticles (nanoclay and graphene) have been investigated. It was found that nanoclay acts more effectively in increasing the stiffness of the CFCs, whereas graphene is more effective in achieving higher strength. Nanoclay-added samples exhibited highest flexural (64.5 GPa) and storage (25.3 GPa) modulus among all types. Graphene-added samples showed highest improvement (by 21%) in flexural strength and exhibited most stable thermomechanical properties with highest energy dissipation capability (3.1 GPa loss modulus) in flexural test and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), respectively. By contrast, addition of binary nanoparticles reduced the stiffness and significantly increased the strain to failure (42%) of the composites. Optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy indicated that addition of nanoparticles significantly reduced delamination and matrix cracking of the CFCs because of strong interfacial bonding and toughened matrix, respectively.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2019 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Tehrani, M., Boroujeni, A.Y., Hartman, T.B., Haugh, T.P., Case, S.W., and Al-Haik, M.S.: Mechanical characterization and impact damage assessment of a woven carbon fiber reinforced carbon nanotube–epoxy composite. Compos. Sci. Technol. 75, 4248 (2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kandare, E., Khatibi, A.A., Yoo, S., Wang, R., Ma, J., and Olivier, P.: Improving the through-thickness thermal and electrical conductivity of carbon fibre/epoxy laminates by exploiting synergy between graphene and silver nano-inclusions. Composites, Part A 69, 7282 (2015).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cai, H. and Aref, A.J.: On the design and optimization of hybrid carbon fiber reinforced polymer-steel cable system for cable-stayed bridges. Composites, Part B 68, 146152 (2015).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lou, T., Lopes, S.M.R., and Lopes, A.V.: Factors affecting moment redistribution at ultimate in continuous beams prestressed with external CFRP tendons. Composites, Part B 66, 136146 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shahid, N., Villate, R.G., and Barron, A.R.: Chemically functionalized alumina nanoparticle effect on carbon fiber/epoxy composites. Compos. Sci. Technol. 65, 22502258 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Song, Q., Li, K., Qi, L., Li, H., Lu, J., and Zhang, L.: The reinforcement and toughening of pyrocarbon-based carbon/carbon composite by controlling carbon nanotube growth position in carbon felt. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 564, 7175 (2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boroujeni, A.Y., Tehrani, M., Nelson, A.J., and Al-Haik, M.: Hybrid carbon nanotube–carbon fiber composites with improved in-plane mechanical properties. Composites, Part B 66, 475483 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kim, M.T., Rhee, K.Y., Lee, J.H., Hui, D., and Lau, A.K.T.: Property enhancement of a carbon fiber/epoxy composite by using carbon nanotubes. Composites, Part B 42, 12571261 (2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siddiqui, N.A., Woo, R.S.C., Kim, J-K., Leung, C.C.K., and Munir, A.: Mode I interlaminar fracture behavior and mechanical properties of CFRPs with nanoclay-filled epoxy matrix. Composites, Part A 38, 449460 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Uddin, M.F. and Sun, C.T.: Strength of unidirectional glass/epoxy composite with silica nanoparticle-enhanced matrix. Compos. Sci. Technol. 68, 16371643 (2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kim, M., Park, Y-B., Okoli, O.I., and Zhang, C.: Processing, characterization, and modeling of carbon nanotube-reinforced multiscale composites. Compos. Sci. Technol. 69, 335342 (2009).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bekyarova, E., Thostenson, E.T., Yu, A., Kim, H., Gao, J., and Tang, J.: Multiscale carbon nanotube–carbon fiber reinforcement for advanced epoxy composites. Langmuir 23, 39703974 (2007).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jony, B., Thapa, M., Mulani, S.B., and Roy, S.: Repeatable self-healing of thermosetting fiber reinforced polymer composites with thermoplastic healant. Smart Mater. Struct. 28, 025037 (2019).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gabr, M.H., Okumura, W., Ueda, H., Kuriyama, W., Uzawa, K., and Kimpara, I.: Mechanical and thermal properties of carbon fiber/polypropylene composite filled with nano-clay. Composites, Part B 69, 94100 (2015).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hasan, S.K., Zainuddin, S., Tanthongsack, J., Hosur, M., and Allen, L.: A study of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) biofilms’ thermal and biodegradable properties reinforced with halloysite nanotubes. J. Compos. Mater. 52, 31993207 (2018).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rahman, T., Rahman, S.S., Ashraf, M.Z.I., Muneer, K.I., and Rashed, H.M.M.A.: Effect of Cu content on the microstructure evolution and fracture behavior of Al–Mg–Si–xCu (x = 0, 1, 2, and 4 wt%) alloys. Mater. Res. Express 4, 106503 (2017).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hossain, M., Possart, G., and Steinmann, P.: A small-strain model to simulate the curing of thermosets. Comput. Mech. 43, 769779 (2009).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chatterjee, S., Nafezarefi, F., Tai, N.H., Schlagenhauf, L., Nüesch, F.A., and Chu, B.T.T.: Size and synergy effects of nanofiller hybrids including graphene nanoplatelets and carbon nanotubes in mechanical properties of epoxy composites. Carbon 50, 53805386 (2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sinha Ray, S. and Okamoto, M.: Polymer/layered silicate nanocomposites: A review from preparation to processing. Prog. Polym. Sci. 28, 15391641 (2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
LeBaron, P.C., Wang, Z., and Pinnavaia, T.J.: Polymer-layered silicate nanocomposites: An overview. Appl. Clay Sci. 15, 1129 (1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alexandre, M. and Dubois, P.: Polymer-layered silicate nanocomposites: Preparation, properties and uses of a new class of materials. Mater. Sci. Eng. R Rep. 28, 163 (2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhou, Y., Hosur, M., Jeelani, S., and Mallick, P.K.: Fabrication and characterization of carbon fiber reinforced clay/epoxy composite. J. Mater. Sci. 47, 50025012 (2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chowdhury, F.H., Hosur, M.V., and Jeelani, S.: Studies on the flexural and thermomechanical properties of woven carbon/nanoclay-epoxy laminates. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 421, 298306 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, C., Wei, X., Kysar, J.W., and Hone, J.: Measurement of the elastic properties and intrinsic strength of monolayer graphene. Science 321, 385388 (2008).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Li, J. and Kim, J-K.: Percolation threshold of conducting polymer composites containing 3D randomly distributed graphite nanoplatelets. Compos. Sci. Technol. 67, 21142120 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Si, Y. and Samulski, E.T.: Exfoliated graphene separated by platinum nanoparticles. Chem. Mater. 20, 67926797 (2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Si, Y. and Samulski, E.T.: Synthesis of water soluble graphene. Nano Lett. 8, 16791682 (2008).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cho, J., Chen, J.Y., and Daniel, I.M.: Mechanical enhancement of carbon fiber/epoxy composites by graphite nanoplatelet reinforcement. Scr. Mater. 56, 685688 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Li, Y., Zhang, H., Huang, Z., Bilotti, E., and Peijs, T.: Graphite nanoplatelet modified epoxy resin for carbon fibre reinforced plastics with enhanced properties. J. Nanomater. (2017).Google Scholar
Moriche, R., Sánchez, M., Jiménez-Suárez, A., Prolongo, S.G., and Ureña, A.: Electrically conductive functionalized-GNP/epoxy based composites: From nanocomposite to multiscale glass fibre composite material. Composites, Part B 98, 4955 (2016).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yang, S-Y., Lin, W-N., Huang, Y-L., Tien, H-W., Wang, J-Y., and Ma, C-C.M.: Synergetic effects of graphene platelets and carbon nanotubes on the mechanical and thermal properties of epoxy composites. Carbon 49, 793803 (2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sumfleth, J., Adroher, X.C., and Schulte, K.: Synergistic effects in network formation and electrical properties of hybrid epoxy nanocomposites containing multi-wall carbon nanotubes and carbon black. J. Mater. Sci. 44, 3241 (2009).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jyoti, J., Dhakate, S.R., and Singh, B.P.: Phase transition and anomalous rheological properties of graphene oxide-carbon nanotube acrylonitrile butadiene styrene hybrid composites. Composites, Part B 154, 337350 (2018).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tcherbi-Narteh, A., Nuruddin, M., Hosur, M., Gupta, R., Lattimore, A., and Jeelani, S.: Influence of montmorillonite nanoclay, graphene nanoplatelets and combined nanoclay/graphene hybrid on properties of epoxy composite. In 20th International Conference on Composite Materials Copenhagen, July 19–24, 2015.Google Scholar
Rafiee, M.A., Rafiee, J., Wang, Z., Song, H., Yu, Z-Z., and Koratkar, N.: Enhanced mechanical properties of nanocomposites at low graphene content. ACS Nano 3, 38843890 (2009).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Zhao, X., Zhang, Q., Chen, D., and Lu, P.: Enhanced mechanical properties of graphene-based poly(vinyl alcohol) composites. Macromolecules 43, 23572363 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zabihi, O., Ahmadi, M., Nikafshar, S., Chandrakumar Preyeswary, K., and Naebe, M.: A technical review on epoxy–clay nanocomposites: Structure, properties, and their applications in fiber reinforced composites. Composites, Part B 135, 124 (2018).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peng, M., Zhou, Y., Zhou, G., and Yao, H.: Triglycidyl para-aminophenol modified montmorillonites for epoxy nanocomposites and multi-scale carbon fiber reinforced composites with superior mechanical properties. Compos. Sci. Technol. 148, 8088 (2017).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ashori, A., Menbari, S., and Bahrami, R.: Mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties of short carbon fiber reinforced polypropylene composites using exfoliated graphene nanoplatelets coating. J. Ind. Eng. Chem. 38, 3742 (2016).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
ASTM D790-03: Standard test methods for flexural properties of unreinforced and reinforced plastics and electrical insulating materials. Available at: Scholar
ASTM D4065-12: Standard practice for plastics: Dynamic mechanical properties: Determination and report of procedures. Available at: Scholar