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Nanomechanical study of polycarbonate/boehmite nanoparticles/epoxy ternary composite and their interphases

Cano Murillo, Natalia; Ghasem Zadeh Khorasani, Media; Silbernagl, Dorothee; Hahn, Marc Benjamin; Hodoroaba, Vasile‐Dan; Sturm, Heinz

Thermoplastic modified thermosets are of great interest especially due to their improved fracture toughness. Comparable enhancements have been achieved by adding different nanofillers including inorganic particles such as nanosized boehmite. Here, we present a nanomechanical study of two composite systems, the first comprising a polycarbonate (PC) layer in contact with epoxy resin (EP) and the second consisting of a PC layer containing boehmite nanoparticles (BNP) which is also in contact with an EP layer. The interaction between PC and EP monomer is tested by in situ Fourier transformed infrared (FT‐IR) analysis, from which a reaction induced phase separation of the PC phase is inferred. Both systems are explored by atomic force microscopy (AFM) force spectroscopy. AFM force‐distance curves (FDC) show no alteration of the mechanical properties of EP at the interface to PC. However, when a PC phase loaded with BNP is put in contact with an epoxy system during curing, a considerable mechanical improvement exceeding the rule of mixture was detected. The trend of BNP to agglomerate preferentially around EP dominated regions and the stiffening effect of BNP on EP shown by spatial resolved measurements of Young's modulus, suggest the effective presence of BNP within the EP phase.
Published in: Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 10.1002/app.50231, Wiley