Flame-Retardant Electrical Conductive Nanopolymers Based on Bisphenol F Epoxy Resin Reinforced with Nano Polyanilines

Both fibril and spherical polyaniline (PANI) nanostructures have successfully served as nanofillers for obtaining epoxy resin polymer nanocomposites (PNCs). The effects of nanofiller morphology and loading level on the mechanical properties, rheological behaviors, thermal stability, flame retardancy, electrical conductivity, and dielectric properties were systematically studied. The introduction of the PANI nanofillers was found to reduce the heat-release rate and to increase the char residue of epoxy resin. A reduced viscosity was observed in both types of PANI–epoxy resin liquid nanosuspension samples at lower loadings (1.0 wt % for PANI nanospheres; 1.0 and 3.0 wt % for PANI nanofibers), the viscosity was increased with further increases in the PANI loading for both morphologies. The dynamic storage and loss modulii were studied, together with the glass-transition temperature (Tg) being obtained from the peak of tan δ. The critical PANI nanofiller loading for the modulus and Tg was different, i.e., 1.0 wt % for the nanofibers and 5.0 wt % for the nanospheres. The percolation thresholds of the PANI nanostructures were identified with the dynamic mechanical property and electrical conductivity, and, because of the higher aspect ratio, nanofibers reached the percolation threshold at a lower loading (3.0 wt %) than the PANI nanospheres (5.0 wt %). The PANI nanofillers could increase the electrical conductivity, and, at the same loading, the epoxy nanocomposites with the PANI nanofibers showed lower volume resistivity than the nanocomposites with the PANI nanospheres, which were discussed with the contact resistance and percolation threshold. The tensile test indicated an improved tensile strength of the epoxy matrix with the introduction of the PANI nanospheres at a lower loading (1.0 wt %). Compared with pure epoxy, the elasticity modulus was increased for all the PNC samples. Moreover, further studies on the fracture surface revealed an enhanced toughness. Finally, the real permittivity was observed to increase with increasing the PANI loading, and the enhanced permittivity was analyzed by the interfacial polarization.