Mechanical properties and thermal conductivity of graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy composites


Nanocomposites of epoxy with 3 and 5 wt% graphene nanoplatelets (GnPs) were fabricated with GnP sizes of ~5 and <1 μm dispersed within an epoxy resin using a sonication process followed by three-roll milling. The morphology, mechanical, and thermal properties of the composites were investigated. Tensile and flexural properties measurements of these nanocomposites indicated higher modulus and strength with increasing concentration of small GnPs sizes (<1 μm, GnP-C750). The incorporation of larger GnPs sizes (~5 μm, GnP-5) significantly improved the tensile and flexural modulus but reduced the strength of the resulting composites. At 35 °C, the dynamic storage modulus of GnP-5/epoxy composites increased with increasing platelet concentration, and improved by 12 % at 3 wt% and 23 % at 5 wt%. The smaller GnP-C750 increased the storage modulus by 5 % at 3 wt% loading but only 2 % at 5 wt% loading. The glass transition temperatures of the composites increased with increasing platelet concentration regardless of the GnP particle size. A marked improvement in thermal conductivity was measured with the incorporation of the larger GnP size reaching 115 % at 5 wt% loading. The effects of different platelet sizes of the GnP reinforcement on the damage mechanisms of these nanocomposites were studied by scanning electron microscopy.

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The work was financially supported by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and the Composite Materials and Structures Center (CMSC) at Michigan State University.

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Correspondence to Lawrence T. Drzal.

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Wang, F., Drzal, L.T., Qin, Y. et al. Mechanical properties and thermal conductivity of graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy composites. J Mater Sci 50, 1082–1093 (2015).

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  • Epoxy
  • Storage Modulus
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analysis
  • Epoxy Matrix
  • Epoxy Composite