Nano-additive Reinforcement of Thermoplastic Microballoon Epoxy Syntactic Foams
Syntactic foams comprised of glass microballoons have gained considerable attention over the past several years due to mechanical and thermal properties that are advantageous for use as a core material in naval and aerospace applications. Recently, advancements in the production of thermoplastic microballoon syntactic foams have allowed for an increase in microballoon volume fraction (up to 90 volume fraction), with corresponding lower densities but reduced mechanical properties. In this work, carbon nanofibers and halloysite nanotubes were incorporated in thermoplastic microballoon-based syntactic foam to enhances its mechanical properties, and the effects of these two nanoscale reinforcements are compared. X-Ray micro-computed tomography (MCT) was employed to analyze the microstructure of the materials produced, and scanning electron microscopy was used to assess the dispersion of nano-additives within the resin. Through characterization of the tensile and compressive strength properties of these materials, it was observed that dramatic mechanical property enhancements can be engineered through additions of either nano-additive at specific loading levels.
KeywordsSyntactic foam Carbon nanofiber Nano-reinforcement
The authors acknowledge the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program for the financial support of our research through grant (NASA Proposal # 11-EPSCoR-0049). Acknowledgements are also due to the Composite and Polymer Engineering (CAPE) Laboratory and staff for equipment usage, guidance and technical assistance with experimentation.
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