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The effect of boehmite nanoparticles (γ‐AlOOH) on nanomechanical and thermomechanical properties correlated to crosslinking density of epoxy

Ghasem Zadeh Khorasani, Media; Silbernagl, Dorothee; Szymoniak, Paulina; Hodoroaba, Vasile-Dan; Sturm, Heinz

We show that complex physical and chemical interactions between boehmite nanoparticles and epoxy drastically affect matrix properties, which in the future will provide tuning of material properties for further optimization in applications from automotive to aerospace. We utilize intermodulation atomic force microscopy (ImAFM) for probing local stiffness of both particles and polymer matrix. Stiff particles are expected to increase total stiffness of nanocomposites and the stiffness of polymer should remain unchanged. However, ImAFM revealed that stiffness of matrix in epoxy/boehmite nanocomposite is significantly higher than unfilled epoxy. The stiffening effect of the boehmite on epoxy also depends on the particle concentration. To understand the mechanism behind property alteration induced by boehmite nanoparticles, network architecture is investigated using dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA). It was revealed that although with 15 wt% boehmite nanoparticles the modulus at glassy state increases, crosslinking density of epoxy for this composition is drastically low.
Published in: Polymer, 10.1016/j.polymer.2018.12.054, Elsevier