Effects of multi-wall carbon nanotubes on the mechanical properties of polymeric nanocomposites
The addition of carbon nanotubes into a variety of nano-composites permits the enhancement of properties like mechanical strength, conductivity and corrosion resistance thus making them more functional. In the present study, multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) were incorporated into two different types of epoxy polymer in order to study the effect of carbon nanotubes on the mechanical properties of the polymer. The thesis work involved fabrication of nano-composite films of epoxy and MWCNT using magnetic stir-bar mixing and open mold casting process. Nanocomposite films containing different weight percentages of carbon nanotubes (0.5% to 2.0%) were prepared using the above method. Ethanol was used as the solvent to enable effective dispersion of the nanotubes into epoxy. Two different quantities of solvent (5gms and 10gms with a stirring time of 6 hrs and 12 hrs respectively) were used to evaluate the conditions required for a good dispersion of the nanotubes in the epoxy and hence to achieve a good improvement in mechanical properties of the nano-composite thus obtained. In each case the samples were subjected to uniaxial tensile testing. Finally, the design of experiments analysis was conducted which showed a substantial improvement in mechanical strength achieved with increasing weight percentages of nanotubes with the best result obtained at 12 hrs stirring of the solvent for both types of epoxy.
Thesis (M.S.) - Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering