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Research Papers

Effect of Dispersion Conditions on the Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Carbon Nanofiber–Polyester Nanocomposites

[+] Author and Article Information
M. E. Hossain

Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology,
NYCCT,
City University of New York,
New York, NY 11201
e-mail: mhossai25@citymail.cuny.edu

M. K. Hossain

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Tuskegee University,
Tuskegee, AL 36088
e-mail: hossainm@mytu.tuskegee.edu

M. V. Hosur, S. Jeelani

Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Tuskegee University,
Tuskegee, AL 36088

1Corresponding authors.

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.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 137(3), 031005 (Jul 01, 2015) (9 pages) Paper No: MATS-14-1172; doi: 10.1115/1.4030196 History: Received August 26, 2014; Revised March 13, 2015; Online April 17, 2015

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.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Wide-angle XRD patterns of nanocomposites with varying CNF contents

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Fig. 2

SEM micrographs of: (a) neat polyester matrix, (b) acid-etched 0.1 wt.% CNF-loaded polyester, (c) acid-etched 0.2 wt.% CNF-loaded polyester, and (d) acid-etched 0.3 wt.% CNF-loaded polyester

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Fig. 3

Flexural stress–strain plot of polyester samples with different wt.% of CNF mixed for 90 mins

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Fig. 4

Flexural test results of 0.2 wt.% CNF-FP samples with different mixing time

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Fig. 5

Compressive stress–strain plot of polyester samples with different wt.% of CNF

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Fig. 6

Compressive test results of 0.2 wt.% CNF-FP samples with different mixing time

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Fig. 7

SEM micrographs of fracture surface after flexural test: (left) controlled and (right) 0.2 wt.% CNF-loaded polyester samples

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Fig. 8

TGA results of loss factor versus temperature of CNF-loaded polyester

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Fig. 9

Temperature dependence of storage modulus for polyester samples

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Fig. 10

Variation of loss tangent (tan δ) with temperature for polyester samples

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Fig. 11

DMA test results of 0.2 wt.% CNF-FP samples with different mixing time

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