Effect of concentration and surface modification of single walled carbon nanotubes on mechanical properties of epoxy composites

Research paper by Jing Ma, Raino Mikael Larsen

Indexed on: 01 Nov '14Published on: 01 Nov '14Published in: Fibers and Polymers


Single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are considered as a highly potential reinforcement material for the epoxy composites. Dispersion of SWNTs in epoxy and poor interfacial strain transfer are two major challenges. Surface functionalization is one efficient way to change the dispersion and interfacial properties of SWNTs. In this study, five different modification methods of SWNTs were used, and the functional groups on the SWNTs were tested by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. The SWNTs/epoxy composite were prepared using dimethylformamide (DMF) as the solvent. SWNTs at two concentration levels of 0.05 wt% and 0.5 wt% and with five different surface modifications were filled in to epoxy resins. The dispersion of the nanotubes in epoxy resin was evaluated by light optical microscope (LOM), with high content of SWNTs more aggregates appear. The interfacial strain transfer was tested by Raman shift of the 2D band when applying a strain on the epoxy composite sample. With equal strain levels in the composite more strain was transferred from epoxy matrix to SWNTs with 0.05 wt% of SWNTs than the 0.5 wt% of SWNTs filled epoxy resin. Mechanical properties were influenced by the strain transfer efficiency and the curing degree of the samples.