Fabrication and characterization of particulate polymer nanocomposites

Ying Du, University of Rhode Island


A comprehensive series of experiments are conducted to study dynamic crack initiation and propagation in nanocomposite materials. The nanocomposites are fabricated using ultrasonics with an in-situ polymerization technique to produce materials with excellent particle dispersion, as verified by transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Dynamic fracture toughness testing is carried out on three-point bend nanocomposite specimens using a modified split-Hopkinson pressure bar. Dynamic photoelasticity coupled with high-speed photography has also been used to obtain crack tip velocities and dynamic stress fields around the propagating cracks. A relationship between the dynamic stress intensity factor, KD, and the crack tip velocity, a˙, is established. ^ Three different sizes Al2O3 particles were chosen as the reinforcement to fabricate the 1 vol.% polyester/A1 2O3 nanocomposites. A series of experiments were conducted to study the effect of the size of filler particles on fracture behavior of the composites. High strain rate testings conducted using a split Hopkinson preesure bar apparatus revealed a moderate increase in fracture toughness with the decrease of particle size. These three composites were also characterized for the dynamic fracture constitutive behavior. Birefringent coating technique coupled with high-speed photography was employed in this study to obtain the dynamic stress fields around the propagating crack tips. A relationship between the dynamic stress intensity factor K1, and the crack tip velocity, , was established and compared for all three materials. ^ Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWNT)/polyester composites were fabricated successfully using the in-situ method combined with the sonication technique. The nanotubes were pre-treated and functionalized to make them more soluble to the matrix material before added into the polyester resin. TEM analysis was carried out to verify the dispersion of the nanotubes in the composites. Three volume fractions (0.1%, 0.5% and 1%) MWNT/polyester nanocomposites were fabricated and subsequently characterized on mechanical behaviors. The results showed the great increase in static fracture toughness of the composites, while decrease in compression strength, compared with the virgin polyester specimens. ^ The transport properties of the carbon nanotubes/polymer composites, including the electrical conductivity and the thermal conductivity, were reviewed and suggestions were given for the future researches. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Mechanical|Engineering, Materials Science

Recommended Citation

Ying Du, "Fabrication and characterization of particulate polymer nanocomposites" (2007). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3284823.