The effects of modified zinc oxide nanoparticles on the mechanical/thermal properties of epoxy resin

Yasmine N. Baghdadi, Lucia Youssef, Kamal Bouhadir, Mohammad Harb, Samir Mustapha*, Digambara Patra, Ali R. Tehrani-Bagha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Characterized by its strength, durability, and thermal properties, epoxy resin has been widely used as an adhesive, paint, and coating in many applications in the aerospace, civil and automotive industries. Despite this, the thermoset polymer resin has been known for its brittleness and low fracture resistance. This study focuses on the reinforcement of an epoxy resin system (diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A) with zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles in their pristine form and a further modified form. The modification took place in two ways: coating with polydopamine (PDA) and covalently functionalizing them with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) and (3-glycidoxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (GPTMS). Therefore, four different types of nanoparticles were used: pristine ZnO, ZnO/PDA, ZnO/GPTMS, and ZnO/APTES aiming to improve the interfacial bonding between the polymeric matrix and the reinforcement. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy characterization and imaging techniques were used to prove that the ZnO nanoparticles were successfully modified prior to manufacturing the epoxy composites. While tensile testing showed that using pristine ZnO increases the composite's strength by 32.14%, the fracture toughness of the resin was improved by 9.40% when reinforced with ZnO functionalized with APTES. TGA showed that the addition of functionalized nanoparticles increases the material's degradation temperature by at most 7.31 ± 4.9°C using ZnO/APTES. Differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic mechanical analysis testing proved that the addition of any type of nanoparticles increases the resin's glass transition temperature by as much as 7.83°C (ZnO/APTES).

Original languageEnglish
Article number49330
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • composites
  • mechanical properties
  • nanocrystals
  • nanoparticles
  • nanostructured polymers
  • nanowires
  • thermal properties


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