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Tensile Properties, Fracture Mechanics Properties and Toughening Mechanisms of Epoxy Systems Modified with Soft Block Copolymers, Rigid TiO2 Nanoparticles and Their Hybrids

Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (IVW), University of Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Strasse, Building 58, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Bordeaux INP, University of Bordeaux, CNRS, Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques (LCPO), UMR 5629, ENSCBP, 16 Avenue Pey-Berland, F-33607 Pessac CEDEX, France.
J. Compos. Sci. 2018, 2(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs2040072
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
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Abstract

The effect of the hybridization of a triblock copolymer and a rigid TiO2 nanofiller on the tensile, fracture mechanics and thermo-mechanical properties of bisphenol F based epoxy resin were studied. The self-assembling block copolymer, constituted of a center block of poly (butyl acrylate) and two side blocks of poly (methyl) methacrylate-co-polar co-monomer was used as a soft filler, and TiO2 nanoparticles were employed as rigid modifiers. Toughening solely by block copolymers (BCP’s) led to the highest fracture toughness and fracture energy in the study, KIc = 2.18 MPa·m1/2 and GIc = 1.58 kJ/m2. This corresponds to a 4- and 16-fold improvement, respectively, over the neat reference epoxy system. However, a reduction of 15% of the tensile strength was observed. The hybrid nanocomposites, containing the same absolute amounts of modifiers, showed a maximum value of KIc = 1.72 MPa·m1/2 and GIc = 0.90 kJ/m2. Yet, only a minor reduction of 4% of the tensile strength was observed. The fracture toughness and fracture energy were co-related to the plastic zone size for all the modified systems. Finally, the analysis of the fracture surfaces revealed the toughening mechanisms of the nanocomposites. View Full-Text
Keywords: epoxy; block copolymers; fracture toughness; TiO2; hybrids epoxy; block copolymers; fracture toughness; TiO2; hybrids
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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 (CC BY 4.0).
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Bajpai, A.; Alapati, A.K.; Klingler, A.; Wetzel, B. Tensile Properties, Fracture Mechanics Properties and Toughening Mechanisms of Epoxy Systems Modified with Soft Block Copolymers, Rigid TiO2 Nanoparticles and Their Hybrids. J. Compos. Sci. 2018, 2, 72.

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