Warren, Graham (2009-05). Epoxy/Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposite Thin Films for Composites Reinforcement. Master's Thesis.
This work is mainly focused upon the preparation, processing and evaluation of mechanical and material properties of epoxy/single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) nanocomposite thin films. B-staged epoxy/SWCNT nanocomposite thin films at 50% of cure have been prepared for improving conductivity and mechanical performance of laminated composites. The SWCNTs were functionalized by oxidation and subsequent grafting using polyamidoamine generation 0 dendrimers (PAMAM-G0). The epoxy nanocomposites containing SWCNTs were successfully cast into thin films by manipulating degree of cure and viscosity of epoxy. The first section of this study focuses on the covalent oxidation and functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), which is necessary in order to obtain the full benefit of the SWCNTs inherent properties for reinforcement. In the second section of this work the preparation of B-staged epoxy/SWCNT nanocomposite thin films is discussed and what the purposes of thin films are. Additionally, the morphology as well as mechanical properties is evaluated by numerous means to obtain a clear picture as to the mechanisms of the epoxy/SWCNT nanocomposites. Furthermore, the effects of using sulfanilamide as a more attractive surface modifier for improved dispersion and adhesion and the effects of nylon particles for improved toughening on epoxy/SWCNT nanocomposites are discussed which displays improvements in numerous areas. Finally, based on these findings and previous studies, the B-staged epoxy/SWCNT nanocomposite thin films can be seamlessly integrated into laminated composite systems upon heating, and can serve as interleaves for improving conductivity and mechanical strengths of laminated fiber composite systems.