Investigations on the thermal and flexural properties of plain weave carbon/epoxy-nanoclay composites by hand-layup technique
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The matrix of carbon fiber/SC-15 epoxy composites was modified with Nanomer® I-28E nanoclay, a surface modified montmorillonite mineral, to determine the effects of particle reinforcement on the response of these materials to flexural and thermomechanical loading. Different weight percentages of nanoclay were dispersed in SC-15 epoxy using sonication route. The nanophased epoxy was then used to manufacture plain weave carbon/epoxy nanocomposites using hand-layup process followed by vacuum bagging. Control samples of woven carbon fiber/epoxy were fabricated for comparison purposes. Effect of post curing on these samples was also investigated. 3-point bend flexure and Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) studies were carried out on 8- and 3-layered samples respectively. Results of flexural tests indicate significant improvements in flexural strength and modulus for nanoclay reinforced composites as compared to the control samples. DMA studies also showed enhancement in thermomechanical properties especially in storage modulus though no appreciable change was noticed in glass transition temperature, Tg. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) studies were carried out to comprehend the effect of nanoclay on the microstructure and the failure modes.
KeywordsFlexural Strength Storage Modulus Dynamic Mechanical Analysis Loss Modulus Fiber Volume Fraction
Authors would like to thank the support received by NSF (grant number HRD-0317741) and Alabama EPSCoR (grant number EPS-0447675) for carrying out this work.
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