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Synthesis & Mechanical Characterization of Carbon/Epoxy Composites Reinforced with SiC Nano Particles

N. Chisholm, H. Mahfuz, V. Rangari, R. Rodgers and S. Jeelani
Tuskegee Unviersity, US

Keywords: nanocomposites, quasi-static, dynamic, carbon/epoxy, mechanical properties

Room temperature cure Epoxy resin has been doped with SiC nanoparticles through an ultrasonic cavitation process. The modified resin is then utilized in a Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) process with satin weave carbon fibers to manufacture nanophased composite panels. The nanoparticles were spherical in shape and about 29 nm in diameter. The loading of nanoparticles into the resin ranged from 1.5 to 3.0 percent by weight. The mixing of nanoparticles with Part-A of SC-15 resin was carried out in a Sonics Vibra Cell ultrasonic liquid processor at 55% of the amplitude for about 30 minutes. At this time, the dispersion of nanoparticles seemed uniform through visual observation. In order to avoid rise in the temperature during sonication, cooling was employed by submerging the mixing beaker in a mixture of ice and water. Part-B (hardener) was then added with the mixture at a ratio of 3:10 and the mixing was carried out mechanically for about 10 minutes using a high speed mechanical stirrer. In the next step, the mixture was used in a VARTM set up with satin weave carbon preforms to fabricate nanophased composite panels. Once cured, test coupons were extracted and subjected to both quasi-static and dynamic loading. Under quasi-static loading tensile and flexural response were of particular interests. Dynamic tests were also carried out at low velocity impact and at high rates of strain. Details of manufacturing, analyses of mechanical tests and enhancements in properties due to nanoparticle infusion are discussed in the paper.

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