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CNT functionalization towards high performance composite materials

Singer, Gerald (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Unterlass, Miriam M. (Technische Universität Wien, Vienna, AUT); Wendrinsky, Josef (Technische Universität Wien, Vienna, AUT); Rennhofer, Harald (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Sinn, Gerhard (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Grünewald, Tilman A. (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Windberger, Ursula (Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Stöger, Werner (Secar Technologie GmbH, Hönigsberg, AUT); Semlitsch, Karl H. (Secar Technologie GmbH, Hönigsberg, AUT); Lichtenegger, Helga (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Unterlass, Miriam (Technische Universität Wien, Vienna, AUT); Grünewald, Tilman (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, AUT); Semlitsch, Karl (Secar Technologie GmbH, Hönigsberg, AUT)

Carbon fibre reinforced composite (CFRC) materials are among the most promising new materials for high-performance applications such as lightweight construction, aeronautics or automotive industry. The high anisotropy of CFRC and outstanding mechanical properties along the fibre direction allows on the one hand for custom tailored properties for a large variety of applications but on the other hand renders the laminates susceptible to delamination normal to the fibre plane and also decreases the fatigue properties significantly. One attempt to overcome these obstacles is to add a further filler component to the composite material: Adding multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) can improve materials properties not only with respect to fracture properties but also higher lifetimes under cyclic loading. For the interaction of MWCNTs and the composite matrix, the dispersion and functionalization play a key role, determining the composite performance. In this work we present ongoing research on a hierarchically structured composite consisting of carbon fibre mats and epoxy (Bisphenol-A-epichlorhydrin resin with amine hardener) reinforced with functionalized MWCNTs. Homogenous dispersions were prepared by several cycles on a three-roll mill. The MWCNTs (Nanocyl NC7000) were amine-functionalized via an oxidation step followed by the reaction with a diamine. These freshly-prepared amine-functionalized MWCNTs were compared to commercially available MWCNTs with an amine-functionalization (Nanocyl NC3152). All mentioned nanotubes were studied by means of Raman-spectroscopy and XPS. For the characterization of resin and hardener GC-MS, GPC and NMR were used. Also the isomers of the amine hardener were investigated using a chiral crystallization approach. The characterizations of the epoxy system and the MWCNTs are shown together with the first results of mechanical testing.

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