Recent Developments of Epoxy Nanocomposites Used for Aerospace and Automotive Application

Recent Developments of Epoxy Nanocomposites Used for Aerospace and Automotive Application

Sudheer Kumar (School for Advanced Research in Polymers, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar, India), Sukhila Krishnan (Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology, India) and Sushanta Kumar Samal (School for Advanced Research in Polymers, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1530-3.ch007


Epoxy resins are widely utilized engineering thermosetting polymers for industrial applications such as aerospace and automotive fields due to their higher mechanical, thermal, and chemical resistance. Recently, polymer nanocomposites have attracted huge attention both in academics and industry because they demonstrated the tremendous enhancement in material properties compared with a neat polymer or traditional micro and macro composites. Traditional composites generally require a high content (˃10%) of the inorganic fillers to bestow the desired mechanical properties. Higher filler content raises the density of the new product, thereby reducing the properties through fragile interfacial interaction among filler and the organic matrix. Furthermore, enhancing filler content makes processability very complicated. However, nanocomposites exhibit improved thermomechanical properties even with a small amount of nanoparticles (≤5%). The chapter provides information about the application of polymer nanocomposites (i.e., aerospace and automotive industries).
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Epoxy resin is one of the most extensively employed traditional thermosetting material, which has wide industrial applications including coatings, (Shi et al., 2009; Acebo et al., 2014) adhesives, (Hsiao et al., 2003; Zhu et al., 2010) electronics, (Tuncer et al., 2006) marine, (Tian et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2014) aerospace (Toldy et al., 2011; Gu et al., 2013) and automobiles due to its higher mechanical, thermal, properties, solvent resistance and good insulation properties (Jyotishkumar et al., 2009; Gu et al., 2013). Conversely, after incorporation of nanofiller like CNT, (Qing et al., 2014; Cui et al., 2013) GO (Dreyer et al. 2010; He et al., 2010) SiO2, (Qi et al., Kumar et al., 2017) (TiO2 (Chatterjee et al., 2008; Kumar et al., 2016) into the epoxy matrix, the performance of the epoxy nanocomposites was further enhanced. Polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) are potential substitutes to microcomposites and monolithic owing to their excellent properties. Nevertheless, the fabrication method of the polymer nanocomposites faces a lot of challenges due to the control of elemental composition and stoichiometry ratios in the nanophase (Khan et al. 2016).

PNCs are materials to which nano-range filler parts are incorporated in order to enhance the characteristic performance of the final materials (Asmatulu et al., 2015). PNCs have two different components of phase constituting dissimilar physical and chemical properties and are segregated via a different interface. Their different characteristic properties are not exhibited through one of its constituents. The constituent which is commonly available in the large quantity is called polymer matrix. Whereas, other constituents incorporated into the matrix which enhances the mechanical properties of the PNCs are called reinforcement (i.e., nanomaterials) (Sunil et al., 2019).

Usually, nanocomposites demonstrated anisotropy characters (directionally dependent) due to the different properties of constituents and inhomogeneous dispersion of the nanomaterials. PNCs exhibits more benefits as compared to traditional composites such as; (i) The enhancement in properties of the polymer matrix in nanocomposites can be obtained via the incorporation of small quantities of nanomaterial in contrast to traditional composites that need higher concentrations of microparticles for the enhancement of the properties, (ii) Owing to the inclusion of the tiny percentage of nanomaterials, PNCs are much lighter in weight than traditional composites and (iii) Nanomaterials having size-related properties improves mechanical, thermal, chemical and electrical properties to a much greater range compared to traditional composites (Jannapu et al., 2010).

PNCs are usually described as the arrangement of polymer matrix and filler at minimum one dimension in the nanometer range. The nanofiller can be divvied into three parts such as one dimensional (e.g., MMT nanoclay), two-dimensional (e.g., carbon nanotube, nanofibers, nanowires etc.,), three-dimensional (e.g., silica nanoparticles, nanowhiskers etc.) (Tiwari et al., 2012; Khan et al., 2016). Polymer nanocomposites are notoriously for its remarkable mechanical properties like higher elastic modulus, enhanced strength, flame retardancy and barrier resistance with the inclusion of very little quantity of nano (5%) particles. This is attributed to the extremely huge surface area of interaction among polymer matrix and nanofiller. Figure 1 demonstrated that the overall application of the polymer nanocomposites.

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