Effects of carbon nanotube fillers on the curing processes of epoxy resin-based composites

The effects of different grades of carbon nanotubes on the curing of a typical epoxy resin (EPIKOTE™ resin 862 and EPIKURE™ curing agent W) were examined via differential scanning calorimetry. It was found that nanotubes could initiate cure at lower temperatures, while the overall curing process was slowed as evidenced by lower total heat of reaction and lower glass transition temperatures of the cured nanocomposites compared to neat epoxy. This finding is practically important as it is essential to have a consistent degree of cure when the properties of thermosets with nanoinclusions are compared to neat resins. It was also found that the inclusion of carbon nanotubes might induce the thermal degradation of epoxy composites at lower temperatures. Morphological analysis done with scanning electron microscopy revealed good dispersion of nanotubes within the epoxy matrix.

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Tao, K; Yang, S; Grunlan, JC; Kim, YS; Dang, B;Deng, Y; Thomas, RL; Wilson, BL; Wei, X; J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2006102 (6), 5248-5254.

Published in Journal of Applied Polymer Science 2006 / Polymer Composites