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Development of Cycloaliphatic Epoxy-POSS Nanocomposite Matrices with Lambas Enhanced Resistance to Atomic Oxygen
Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS), Department of Aerospace Engineering, School of Civil, Aerospace, and Mechanical Engineering, Queen’s Building, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK
Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: National Composites Centre, Feynman Way Central, Bristol and Bath Science Park, Emersons Green, Bristol BS16 7FS, UK.
Present address: European Space and Technology Research Centre, European Space Agency, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1483; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25071483 (registering DOI)
Received: 12 February 2020 / Revised: 20 March 2020 / Accepted: 22 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
The preparation of ultra-thin CFRP laminates, which incorporate a cycloaliphatic epoxy resin reinforced with polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) reagent nanofiller, using out-of-autoclave procedure is reported. The influence of the amount of POSS within the laminate on the mechanical properties and surface roughness of the laminates is analysed before and after exposure to atomic oxygen (AO) to simulate the effects of low Earth orbit (LEO). The addition of 5 wt% POSS to the base epoxy leads to an increase in both flexural strength and modulus, but these values begin to fall as the POSS content rises, possibly due to issues with agglomeration. The addition of POSS offers improved resistance against AO degradation with the laminates containing 20 wt% POSS demonstrating the lowest erosion yield (1.67 × 10-24 cm2/atom) after the equivalent of a period of 12 months in a simulated LEO environment. Exposure to AO promotes the formation of a silicon-rich coating layer on the surface of the laminate, which in turn reduces roughness and increases stiffness, as evidenced by measurements of flexural properties and spectral data after exposure.
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