The Tensile Fatigue Behaviour of Aligned MWNT/Epoxy Nanocomposites
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The emergence of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has created new opportunities for the fabrication of polymer composites that possess strong potential for a wide spectrum of applications. The one-dimensional structure of carbon nanotubes has a very high anisotropic nature and unusual mechanical properties, which made them as promising nanofiller for the composite structures. But the particle-level exceptional properties are not completely utilised when they are used as reinforcement in composites due to inadequate and immature processing techniques. In the present work, we have made an attempt to utilise the strong anisotropic nature of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) for improving the fatigue life of nanocomposites, especially for very low weight percentages. The MWNTs anisotropy was imparted to the nanocomposites by aligning them in the epoxy matrix with DC electric field during curing. Nanocomposites were made for 0.1 wt% MWNT loading. Totally, three categories of nanocomposites were prepared: nanocomposites with aligned CNT (with electric field), nanocomposites without CNT alignment (without electric field), and neat epoxy for the comparison purpose. The tensile fatigue behaviour was investigated under stress control mode by applying cyclic sinusoidal load with the frequency range of 1–3 Hz and stress ratio of R = 0.1. The specimens were tested for the fatigue load until the failure or 1E+05 cycles. The fractured surfaces were examined through scanning electron microscope to analyse the fatigue fracture behaviour.
KeywordsMulti-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) Nanocomposites Fatigue Nanotube alignment Digital image correlation (DIC) Toughening mechanisms
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support received from the 12th Five Year Plan of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India (Project No. ESC-02-12-02).
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