عنوان مقاله [English]
An epoxy resin was modified by silica nanoparticles and cured with an anhydride. The particles with different batches of 12, 20, and 40 nm sizes were each distributed into the epoxy resin ultrasonically. Electron microscopy images showed that the silica particles were well dispersed throughout the resin. Tensile test results showed that Young’s modulus and tensile strength increased with the volume fraction and surface area of the silica particles. The simultaneous use of two average sizes of 20 and 40 nm diameter silica particles still increased these mechanical properties but other combinations of silica particles were unsuccessful. A three-point bending test on each pre-cracked specimen was performed to measure the mode I fracture toughness energy. The fracture energy increased from 283 J/m2 for the unmodified epoxy to about 740 J/m2 for the epoxy with 4.5 wt% of 12 nm diameter silica nanoparticles. The fracture energy of smaller particles was greater because of their higher surface to volume ratio. The fracture energy results showed also that the combined nanoparticles has a synergic effect on the fracture toughness of nanocomposites. Simultaneous use of 10 and 20 nm particles increased the fracture energy to about 770 J/m2. Finally, crack-opening displacement was calculated and found to be in the range of several micrometers which was much larger than the sizes of particles studied. Thus, the toughening mechanisms of crack pinning and crack deflection have a negligible effect on improvement of toughness, nevertheless, the plastic deformation and plastic void growth are dominant mechanisms in epoxy toughening by nanoparticles.
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