Thermal and mechanical properties of carbon nanotube/epoxy nanocomposites reinforced with pristine and functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes
In this study, the effects of functionalization and weight fraction of mutliwalled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were investigated on mechanical and thermomechanical properties of CNT/Epoxy composite. Epoxy resin was used as matrix material with pristine-, COOH-, and NH2-functionalized CNTs as reinforcements in weight fractions of 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0%. Varying (increasing) the weight fraction and changing type (pristine or functionalized) of CNTs caused increment in Young's modulus and tensile strength as observed during mechanical tests. CNT reinforcement improved thermal stability of the nanocomposites as observed by thermogravimetric analysis. Thermomechanical analysis showed a slight reduction in free volume of the polymer, that is a drop in coefficient of thermal expansion, prior to glass transition temperature (Tg) beside a slight increase in Tg value. Dynamic mechanical analysis indicated an increase in storage modulus and Tg owing to the strength addition of CNT to the matrix alongside the hardener. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of the fractured surface(s) revealed that CNTs were well dispersed with no agglomeration and resulted in reinforcing the matrix. POLYM. COMPOS., 36:1891-1898, 2015.