Nanomechanical Characterization of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Epoxy Composites

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Nanomechanical properties of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) reinforced epoxy composites with varying weight percentage (0, 1, 3, and 5 wt%) of nanotubes were measured by nanoindentation and nanoscratch techniques. Hardness and elastic modulus were measured using a nanoindenter. Scratch resistance and scratch damage were studied using the AFM tip sliding against the SWNT reinforced sample surfaces. Nanoindentation/nanoscratch deformation and fracture behaviour was studied by in situ imaging of the indentation impressions/scratch tracks. Viscoelastic properties of the nanocomposites were measured using nanoindentation dynamic mechanical analysis tests. The reinforcing mechanisms are discussed with reference to the nanotube dispersion, interfacial bonding, and load transfer in the SWNT reinforced polymer composites.