Epoxy polymers, having good mechanical properties and thermal stability, are often used for engineering applications. Their properties can be further enhanced by the addition of iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) as fillers to the resin. In this study, pristine Fe3O4 NPs were functionalized with polydopamine (PDA), (3-glycidoxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (GPTMS), and (3-aminopropyl)trimethoxysilane (APTES). X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study any changes in the crystal structure and size of the NPs while Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) were used to ensure the presence of functional groups on the surface. The mechanical properties of the Fe3O4-based nanocomposites generally improved except when reinforced with Fe3O4/PDA. The maximum improvement in tensile strength (∼34%) and fracture toughness (∼13%) were observed for pristine Fe3O4-based nanocomposites. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) showed that the use of any of the treated NPs improved the material's initial storage modulus and had a substantial impact on its dissipation potential. Also, it was observed that the glass transition temperature measurements by DMA and differential scanning calorimetry were below that of pure epoxy. SEM of the cracked surfaces shows that the incorporation of any NPs leads to an enhancement in its thermal and mechanical properties.
- functionalization of polymers
- mechanical properties
- thermal properties