The Effect of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube (SWCNT) Concentration on the Mechanical and Rheological Behavior of Epoxy Matrix
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The improvement of Mode I fracture toughness of epoxy by the addition of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) is considered. To prepare nanocomposites, chemical-vapor-deposition-grown SWCNTs noncovalently functionalized with an ethoxylated alcohol was used as the additive and a diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A-based epoxy as the matrix material. The SWCNTs were dispersed in the epoxy matrix via a mechanical stirrer and a 3-roll mill. The effect of their concentration (0.0125, 0.025, 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 wt.%) on the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites was investigated, and the optimum concentration was determined. Mode I fracture toughness (single-edge-notch 3-point bending) and tensile tests were carried out on neat epoxy and SWCNT-reinforced epoxy nanocomposites. The fractured surfaces of fracture toughness and tensile test specimens were examined by the SEM to reveal the effect of SWCNTs on their failure modes.