Characterization of Chemical and Mechanical Properties of Polymer Based Nanocomposites

  • Tamer Wafy

Student thesis: Phd


Characterization of Chemical and Mechanical Properties of Polymer Based NanocompositesThe University of ManchesterTamer Wafy Doctor of Philosophy17 January, 2013One of the most significant issues in nanocomposite performance is improving the dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in thermosetting or thermoplastic polymers in order to gain good mechanical properties. Several studies have investigated the fabrication of nanocomposites based on carbon nanotubes and analysed properties, but there is still insufficient data on their structure-property relationships. This thesis has investigated the central importance of stress transfer Raman studies in epoxy composites reinforced with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) and multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to elucidate the reinforcing ability of the CNTs in an epoxy matrix. This project was undertaken to synthesise and characterize MWCNTs and determine the effect of different weight fractions of untreated MWCNTs on the stress transfer efficiency at the MWCNTS / epoxy interface and on the stiffness of the thermomechanical properties of the MWCNTS / epoxy composites. It was undertaken to assess the stress transfer efficiency at the CNT / epoxy interface and at the inter-walls of the CNTs with tensile deformation and with cyclic loading.Optimized conditions of the injection chemical vapour deposition method (CVD), such as long injection times were applied to produce MWCNTs with a high yield, high aspect ratio and well-defined G' Raman peak. The morphology and size of CNTs were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) while their thermal stability was examined by Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Both Raman spectroscopy and mechanical testing (static and dynamic) were utilized in this study. The Raman spectroscopy research consisted of following the G'-band frequency and linewidth as well as the intensity of radial breathing modes (RBMs) during tensile deformation. The stress-induced Raman shifts in the nanocomposites have been shown to be controlled by the number of carbon nanolayers. A theory has been developed to determine and simulate the stress transfer efficiency parameter, (k_i) for MWCNTs. Tensile tests and dynamic mechanical testing were used to assess the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites.The most obvious finding to be drawn from the present study is that the reinforcement of the epoxy resin with different loadings of MWCNTs is useful, but the best reinforcement was at low loadings of MWCNTs. One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is that (k_i) between the inner walls of the DWCNTs and MWCNTs are quite similar (~0.7), which suggest that (k_i) may be similar for all CVD MWCNTs and DWCNTs. The second major finding was that there were RBM intensity variations for the SWCNTs and DWCNTs in the hot-cured epoxy composites and that for the DWCNTs both the inner and outer nanotube walls are stressed during deformation
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRobert Young (Supervisor) & Ian Kinloch (Supervisor)


  • Epoxy nanocomposites
  • G' Raman peak
  • Mechanical properties
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Graphene
  • Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs)
  • Double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs)
  • Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs)
  • Stress transfer

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