Re-agglomeration of carbon nanotubes in two-part epoxy system; influence of the concentration

Fawad Inam, Ton Peijs

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Abstract

Carbon nanotubes, because of their exceptional mechanical properties, are one of the potential reinforcements for polymers in near future. Before substituting these nanocomposites in commercial applications, there are many problems, like dispersion, agglomeration, cost effectiveness etc., which need to be sorted. Processing such nanocomposites for longer durations is quite frequently observed these days. Apart from the other major obstacles, re-agglomeration, because of strong van der walls forces between carbon nanotubes, is one of the latest problems that has been always underestimated and ignored. In this study, different carbon nanotubes (Single-wall nanotubes (SWNT), Double wall nanotubes (DWNT), Amino-modified double wall nanotubes (DWNT-NH2), Thin Multi wall nanotubes (MWNT) and COOH-modified thin multi wall nanotubes (MWNT-COOH)) at different concentrations (0.025, 0.05 and 0.1 %wt) in two-part epoxy system (Liquid Epoxy, Liquid hardener and Liquid epoxy-hardener mixture) were studied involving nano-particle size analyzer. After a study of 3 hours, it was observed that there is a strong dependence of re-aggregation profile on the employed homogenizing technique, i.e. high-power bath ultrasonication in this study. Apart from nanotubes/epoxy mixture, higher concentrations yielded higher aggregates profile and vice versa. Re-agglomeration, with the passage of time, in liquid epoxy was found to be least as compared to liquid hardener and liquid epoxy-hardener mixture. Hardener in liquid-epoxy mixture was the main culprit responsible for re-aggregation. Results were further verified by scanning electron microscopy, which revealed significant differences in the microstructures of the cured and fractured samples. Suggestions for altering processing parameters in order to avoid this major obstacle are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Event5th International Bhurbhan Conference on Applied Science and Technology (IBCAST 2007) - Islamabad, Pakistan
Duration: 1 Jan 2007 → …

Conference

Conference5th International Bhurbhan Conference on Applied Science and Technology (IBCAST 2007)
Period1/01/07 → …

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