In this study, sonication dispersion technique was employed to infuse 0.1–0.4 wt.% carbon nanofibers (CNFs) into polyester matrix to enhance thermomechanical properties of resulting nanocomposites. The effect of dispersion conditions has been investigated with regard to the CNF content and the sonication time. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs revealed excellent dispersion of 0.2 wt.% CNF infused in polyester, resulting in enhanced mechanical responses. Polyester with 0.2 wt.% CNF samples resulted in 88% and 16% increase in flexural strength and modulus, respectively, over the neat one. Quasi-static compression tests showed similar increasing trend with addition of CNF. Fracture morphology study of tested samples revealed relatively rougher surface in CNF-loaded polyester compared to the neat due to better interaction between the fiber and the matrix. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) study exhibited about 35% increase in the storage modulus and about 5 °C increase in the glass transition temperature (Tg). A better thermal stability in the CNF-loaded polyester was observed from the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) studies. Best results were obtained for the 0.2 wt.% CNF loading with 90 mins of sonication and 50% sonication amplitude. It is recommended that this level of sonication facilitates suitable dispersion of the CNF into polyester matrices without destroying the CNF's structure.
Effect of Dispersion Conditions on the Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Carbon Nanofiber–Polyester Nanocomposites
Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 26, 2014; final manuscript received March 13, 2015; published online April 17, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Ashraf Bastawros.
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Hossain, M. E., Hossain, M. K., Hosur, M. V., and Jeelani, S. (July 1, 2015). "Effect of Dispersion Conditions on the Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Carbon Nanofiber–Polyester Nanocomposites." ASME. J. Eng. Mater. Technol. July 2015; 137(3): 031005. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4030196
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