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Simple Approach for Preparation of Epoxy Hybrid Nanocomposites Based on Carbon Nanotubes and a Model Clay

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journal contribution
posted on 22.06.2010, 00:00 by Dazhi Sun, Chien-Chia Chu, Hung-Jue Sue
We report a simple, yet effective solution method for dispersion of carbon nanotubes and inorganic nanoplatelets into a thermosetting epoxy matrix. With an aid of exfoliated inorganic nanoplatelets, carbon nanotubes can be easily deroped in aqueous solution. Subsequently, the aqueous dispersion of carbon nanotubes and nanoplatelet hybrid can be easily transferred to organic solvents by a drying-redispersion process, and then to the epoxy matrix. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy images show that carbon nanotubes have been individually dispersed and nanoplatelets have been fully exfoliated in the epoxy matrix. X-ray diffraction is also used to investigate the dispersion mechanism. The resulting epoxy nanocomposites, containing both individually dispersed carbon nanotubes and exfoliated nanoplatelets, exhibit greatly improved modulus (up to 41%) and strength (up to 55%) at low nanotube loadings (up to 0.4 wt.%) without compromising the strain at failure. This approach is promising for large-scale preparation of highly reinforced polymer/carbon nanotube nanocomposites at low cost.