Effect of silane structure on the properties of silanized multiwalled carbon nanotube-epoxy nanocomposites
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Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were functionalized with aminosilanes via an aqueous deposition route. The size and morphology of siloxane oligomers grafted to the MWCNTs was tuned by varying the silane functionality and concentration and their effect on the properties of a filled epoxy system was investigated. The siloxane structure was found to profoundly affect the thermo-mechanical behavior of composites reinforced with the silanized MWCNTs. Well-defined siloxane brushes increased the epoxy Tg by up to 19 °C and significantly altered the network relaxation dynamics, while irregular, siloxane networks grafted to the MWCNTs had little effect. The addition of both types of silanized MWCNTs elicited improvements in the strength of the nanocomposites, but only the well-defined siloxane brushes engendered dramatic improvements in toughness. Because the silanization reaction is simple, rapid, and performed under aqueous conditions, it is also an industrially attractive functionalization route.