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Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 781–788 | Cite as

Toughening of a brittle thermosetting polymer: Effects of reinforcement particle size and volume fraction

  • R. P. SinghEmail author
  • M. Zhang
  • D. Chan
Article

Abstract

Micron- and nanometer-sized aluminum particles were used as reinforcements to enhance the fracture toughness of a highly-crosslinked, nominally brittle, thermosetting unsaturated polyester resin. Both particle size and particle volume fraction were systematically varied to investigate their effects on the fracture behavior and the fracture toughness. It was observed that, in general, the overall fracture toughness increased monotonically with the volume fraction of aluminum particles, for a given particle size, provided particle dispersion and deagglomeration was maintained. The fracture toughness of the composite was also strongly influenced by the size of the reinforcement particles. Smaller particles led to a greater increase in fracture toughness for a given particle volume fraction. Scanning electron microscopy of the fracture surfaces was employed to establish crack front trapping as the primary extrinsic toughening mechanism. Finally, the effects of particle volume fraction and size on the tensile properties of the polyester-aluminum composite were also investigated. The measured elastic modulus was in accordance with the rule-of-mixtures. Meanwhile, the tensile strength was slightly reduced upon the inclusion of aluminum particles in the polyester matrix.

Keywords

Particle Size Tensile Strength Brittle Elastic Modulus Fracture Surface 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanics of Advanced Materials Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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