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Structure and properties of epoxy nanocomposites

Structure and properties of epoxy nanocomposites

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The automotive and aerospace industries are continually seeking ‘greener’ approaches for transportation. One strategy to achieve this is the incorporation of light weight, high strength materials. Epoxy/clay nanocomposites are an extremely promising innovation, although they are yet to be fully industrially utilised, due to the difficulty in dispersing clay homogeneously in epoxy. When epoxy resin reacts with a curative at a rapid rate, extra gallery polymerisation can occur around platelets where there is insufficient time for these platelets to disperse. When polymer chains diffuse into gallery spacings and polymerise, platelets separate in a process often referred to as intra gallery polymerisation. The production of exfoliated structures requires both of these rates to be comparable and has been one of the main obstacles in their manufacture. This report presents critical research into the structure-property relationships in nanocomposites and incorporation into a carbon fibre. Optimisation of processing and manufacturing methodologies were investigated, while complementary techniques were employed to fully characterise the materials morphology and mechanical performance.