Filling epoxy resin (EP) with boron nitride (BN) nanosheets (BNNSs) can effectively improve the thermal conductivity of BN/EP nanocomposites. However, due to the few hydroxyl groups on the surface of BNNSs, silane coupling agent (SCA) cannot effectively modify BNNSs. The agglomeration of BNNSs is severe, which significantly reduces the AC breakdown strength of the composites. Therefore, this paper uses atmospheric pressure bipolar nanosecond pulse dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) Ar+H2
O low temperature plasma to hydroxylate BNNSs to improve the AC breakdown strength and thermal conductivity of the composites. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) shows that the hydroxyl content of the BNNSs surface increases nearly two fold after plasma modification. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) show that plasma modification enhances the dehydration condensation reaction of BNNSs with SCA, and the coating amount of SCA on the BNNSs surface increases by 45%. The breakdown test shows that the AC breakdown strength of the composites after plasma modification is improved under different filling contents. With the filling content of BNNSs increasing from 10% to 20%, the composites can maintain a certain insulation strength. Meanwhile, the thermal conductivity of the composites increases by 67% as the filling content increases from 10% (SCA treated) to 20% (plasma and SCA treated). Therefore, the plasma hydroxylation modification method used in this paper can provide a basis for the preparation of high thermal conductivity insulating materials.
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