Mechanism of reinforcement in a nanoclay/polymer composite

Chan, Mo-lin and Lau, Kin-tak and Wong, Tsun-tat and Ho, Mei-po and Hui, David (2011) Mechanism of reinforcement in a nanoclay/polymer composite. Composites Part B: Engineering, 42 (6). pp. 1708-1712. ISSN 1359-8368


Using organomodified montmorillonite (MMT) (commonly called 'Nanoclay') to reinforce polymer-based composites have raised much attention to academic and industrial sectors due to the addition of small amount of nanoclay could substantially enhance the mechanical properties of pristine polymers. However, most of the works done previously have neglected to comprehensively study the basic reinforcing mechanism of the composites, particular the interaction between nanoclay and surrounding matrix even though high tensile strength and modulus were obtained. In this paper, uniformly-dispersed nanoclay/epoxy composite samples, based on our tailor-made experiment setup were fabricated. A tensile property test was conducted to examine the mechanical properties of the samples with different nanoclay content. It was found that the Young’s modulus and tensile strength of a composite with 5 wt.% of nanoclay increased up to 34% and 25% respectively, as compared with a pristine sample. Images obtained from scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and results extracted from transmission electron microscope (TEM) proved that interlocking and bridging effects did exist in the composites. Nanoclay clusters with the diameter of 10 nm could enhance the mechanical interlocking inside the composites and thus, breaking up the crack propagation. The formation of boundaries between the nanoclay clusters and epoxy can refine the matrix grains and further improve the flexural strength of the composites.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2012 11:59
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2014 05:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: polymer-matrix composites (PMCs); particle-reinforcement; nano-structures; transmission electron microscope (TEM); high-tensile strength
Fields of Research (2008): 03 Chemical Sciences > 0303 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry > 030305 Polymerisation Mechanisms
09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090503 Construction Materials
10 Technology > 1007 Nanotechnology > 100706 Nanofabrication, Growth and Self Assembly
Fields of Research (2020): 34 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 3403 Macromolecular and materials chemistry > 340306 Polymerisation mechanisms
40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400505 Construction materials
40 ENGINEERING > 4018 Nanotechnology > 401805 Nanofabrication, growth and self assembly
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
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