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Nanoscale. 2015 Jun 21;7(23):10294-329. doi: 10.1039/c5nr01354b.

Improving the fracture toughness and the strength of epoxy using nanomaterials--a review of the current status.

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Material Research Centre, SEC Faculty, Kingston University London, UK.


The incorporation of nanomaterials in the polymer matrix is considered to be a highly effective technique to improve the mechanical properties of resins. In this paper the effects of the addition of different nanoparticles such as single-walled CNT (SWCNT), double-walled CNT (DWCNT), multi-walled CNT (MWCNT), graphene, nanoclay and nanosilica on fracture toughness, strength and stiffness of the epoxy matrix have been reviewed. The Young's modulus (E), ultimate tensile strength (UTS), mode I (GIC) and mode II (GIIC) fracture toughness of the various nanocomposites at different nanoparticle loadings are compared. The review shows that, depending on the type of nanoparticles, the integration of the nanoparticles has a substantial effect on mode I and mode II fracture toughness, strength and stiffness. The critical factors such as maintaining a homogeneous dispersion and good adhesion between the matrix and the nanoparticles are highlighted. The effect of surface functionalization, its relevancy and toughening mechanism are also scrutinized and discussed. A large variety of data comprised of the mechanical properties of nanomaterial toughened composites reported to date has thus been compiled to facilitate the evolution of this emerging field, and the results are presented in maps showing the effect of nanoparticle loading on mode I fracture toughness, stiffness and strength.


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