Fabrication, characterization, and dynamic behavior of polyester/TiO2 nanocomposites

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Unsaturated polyester resin specimens embedded with small loadings of 36 nm average diameter TiO2 particles were fabricated using a direct ultrasonification method to study the effects of nanosized particles on nanocomposite bulk mechanical properties. The ultrasonification method employed produced nanocomposites with excellent particle dispersion as verified by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Quasi-static fracture toughness, tension, and compression testing was carried out. The presence of the particles had the greatest effect on fracture toughness; negligible influence was observed in the remaining quasi-static properties. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of fracture surfaces was carried out to identify toughening mechanisms. The inadequacy of the bond between the filler and the matrix and the presence of minor particle agglomerations in specimens containing higher volume fractions of particles were believed to be responsible for a consistent decrease in property values beyond a volume fraction of 1 vol.%. Dynamic fracture toughness testing was carried out, and an increase in dynamic fracture toughness relative to quasi-static fracture toughness was observed. High strain rate testing conducted using a split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) apparatus revealed a moderate stiffening effect with increasing particle volume fraction, although no marked effect was observed on the ultimate strength. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Materials Science and Engineering A