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Multiphase epoxy-nanocomposites based on multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and inorganic nanoparticles (TiO2) were produced. The rheological, electrical and thermo-mechanical properties were investigated in order to reveal informations about the interparticle interactions between the different types of nanoparticles. TEM-investigations reveal altered microstructures for the multiphase nanocomposites (MWCNT plus TiO2). TiO2 causes changes in the state of dispersion of MWCNT which can lead to an increase of the rheological parameters (e.g. G'). Due to changes in the formation of the percolated MWCNT network during curing, the electrical conductivity is decreased if the concentration of the non-conductive fillers exceeds a critical value. Additional synergistic effects could be found for the glass transition temperature. The presence of nanoparticles leads to a chemical inactivation of reactive groups of the matrix. Thus, the generated interphase between matrix and nanoparticles exhibits a lower curing degree which results in lower thermo-mechanical properties. For the multiphase systems the glass transition temperature is decreased less, due to an inactivation of the surface of the different types of nanoparticles by a self assembly which leads to a higher curing degree of the interphase.
Increasing the mechanical performance, e.g. strength, toughness and fatigue properties of composites is the objective of many ongoing research projects. Nanoparticles, e.g. carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and fumed silica provide a high potential for the reinforcement of polymers. Their size in the nanometre regime make them suitable candidates for the reinforcement of fibre reinforced polymers, as they may penetrate the reinforcing fibre-network without disturbing the fibre-arrangement.
In this work, glass fibre-reinforced epoxy composites with nanoparticle modified matrix systems were produced and investigated. GFRPs containing different volume fractions of the nanofillers were produced via resin transfer moulding. Matrix dominated mechanical properties of the GFRP laminates could be improved by the incorporation of nanoparticles. The addition of only 0.3 wt.% CNTs to the epoxy matrix increased the interlaminar shear strength from 33.4 to 38.7 MPa (+16%). Furthermore, the application of electrically conductive nanoparticles enables the production of conductive nanocomposites. This offers a high potential for antistatic applications and the implementation of functional properties in the composite structures. The effects of different filler types and volume fractions on the electrical properties of the GFRPs were investigated. GFRPs containing 0.3 wt.% of CNTs, for example, exhibit an anisotropic electrical conductivity. Furthermore, an electrical field was applied to the composites during curing. The effects on the resulting electrical and mechanical properties are discussed.
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