In this work, the viscoelastic behavior of polypropylene (PP)/multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) nanocomposites was investigated by indentation testing and phenomenological modeling. Firstly, indentation tests including two-cycle indentation were carried out on PP/MWCNT nanocomposite with three MWCNT loadings (1, 3 and 5 wt %). Next, the Maxwell–Voigt–Kelvin model coupled with two-cycle indentation tests was used to predict the shear creep compliance function and the equivalent indentation modulus. The indentation hardness and elastic modulus of the PP/MWCNT nanocomposites extracted based on the Oliver and Pharr method were compared with the equivalent indentation modulus predicted based on the Maxwell–Voigt–Kelvin mode. The experimental results indicated that the addition of nanotubes into the polypropylene has a positive effect on the micro-mechanical properties of PP/MWCNT nanocomposites. Indentation hardness and elastic modulus increased significantly with increasing MWCNT loading. The creep resistance at the micro-scale of the PP/MWCNT nanocomposites improved with the addition of MWCNTs, with creep displacement reduced by up to 20% by increasing the carbon nanotube loading from 1 to 5 wt %. The Maxwell–Voigt–Kelvin model with three and five Voigt–Kelvin units accurately predicted the shear creep function and its change with increasing MWCNT loading. However, the equivalent indentation modulus was found to be sensitive to the number of Voigt–Kelvin units: the more Voigt–Kelvin units, the better the model predicts the equivalent indentation modulus.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited