Sabyasachi Ganguli, Ph.D. (2005)

Dissertation Topic: Synthesis and Characterization of Nanostructured Polymer Composites

Major Professor:  Dr. Kalyan Kumar Das, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

M.S.:  Mechanical Engineering & Agriculture Economics, Tuskegee University

Employment: Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Laboratory, OH  

Dissertation Abstract:

The quest to economically develop new composite materials to meet ever increasing - technological demands poses a real challenge for scientists and engineers. These demands often necessitate the engineering of the potential reinforcements and the matrices at the nanolevel. Nanostructured polymer composites can accentuate the advantages and minimize some of the severe limitations of conventional polymer composites. In the present research, nanocomposites of cynate ester, bifunctional epoxy and tetrafunctional epoxy resins have been synthesized and evaluated. Organically modified layered silicate (OLS) particles and multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) were used as reinforcements. Microstructure - thermal and mechanical performance relationships of these nanocomposites were studied. The microstructure variables included, surface modification of the nanoparticles, the type of resin, 
the type of reinforcement and the percent loading of the reinforcement. Processing conditions- thermal and mechanical performance relationships were also studied. The processing condition variables included, methods of dispersion of the nanoparticles in the matrices and curing time and temperature. Tensile, flexural and fracture toughness tests were conducted on the developed nanocomposites to evaluate their overloading and fracture behavior. Fracture surface analysis revealed the various mechanisms by which the OLS and MWNT reinforced polymer nanocomposites acquired their superior strength and toughness in comparison with the neat resins.