Date of Award:

2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Nicholas A. Roberts

Abstract

Polymer composites with carbon nanotubes (CNT) as filler material is an exciting research area, having a huge potential of offering better mechanical properties. One of the main challenges of using CNT as a filler material is mixing of CNTs within the matrix material, as this mixing determines the strength of the composite. Some of the methods being researched for improving mixing are chemical, mechanical and surfactants. Many studies have suggested high frequency mechanical stirring as the preferred way for better mixing, but challenges exist with finding the proper solvent which can be used for stirring and at the same time doesn't react with the base polymer. Furthermore, the solvent selection is limited by viscosity, evaporation rate and stability after stirring. Functionalization of CNT may also affect the mechanical properties of the composite as functionalization is supposed to help in distribution of CNTs in polymer matrix. For this study multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)with different functionalizations(COOH & OH) and polydimethylsiloxane is selected as CNT polymer composite.

The objective of this study is to determine an effective solvent for stirring and investigate the role of dispersion on the mechanical properties of the CNT polymer composite. Additionally the secondary objective of this study is to examine how the functionalization helps in enhancing the mechanical properties of CNT polymer composite.

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