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The role of nanoparticles in the fracture toughness of glass fiber-reinforced polyester composites (GFRPs) was investigated. An unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) and a vinyl ester resin (VER) were toughened by two distinct methods: (1) incorporating a very low loading (0.04 wt%) of alkyl or vinyl modified graphene oxide (mGO); or (2) adding core-shell rubber (CSR, 1 and 5 wt%). For unreinforced resins, results from compact tension tests revealed that adding 0.04 wt% of mGO increased the fracture toughness (G IC_Resin ) of UPR and VER by as much as 49 and 35%, respectively, without lowering the modulus and glass transition temperature (T g ); however, the mode I interlaminar fracture toughness (G IC_Comp ) of GFRPs was not improved. On the other hand, CSR is a more effective toughener, though at much higher loadings. 1 wt% had little effect, but 5 wt% of CSR enhanced G IC_Resin of UPR and VER by 280 and 600%, respectively, with a significant decrease in flexural modulus and flexural strength. 5 wt% of CSR was not able to increase the G IC_Comp of UPR laminates either; however, CSR did increase the initiation G IC_Comp and propagation G IC_Comp of VER laminates by 50 and 33%, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy of the fractured specimens revealed weak fiber–matrix bonding for all GFRPs. This work suggests that enhancing fiber–matrix bonding is critical to gain the benefit of adding nanoparticles to GFRPs. POLYM. COMPOS., 40:E1512–E1524, 2019.
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Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article. Correspondence to: C. W. Macosko; e-mail: email@example.com Contract grant sponsor: Adama Materials. contract grant sponsor: University of Minnesota. DOI 10.1002/pc.25065 Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). © 2018 Society of Plastics Engineers
This research was funded by Adama Materials. The authors gratefully thank Mr John Ryder for preparing resin samples and performing the modification of GO. We also thank Dr Robert Ferris, Dr Frank Thibodeau, Dr Ellad Tadmor, and Mr Jiadi Fan for their valuable discussions and guidance for this research. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities mrfn.org) via the MRSEC program.
© 2018 Society of Plastics Engineers
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