Processing and characterisation of nano-enhanced composites
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Since the discovery of nanomaterials in early ninety’s, a remarkable progress in the synthesis of nanocomposites has been reported looking for a new better material with improved physical and chemical properties for a variety of applications in almost all fields. The science and technology of nanocomposites has created great excitement and expectations in the last decade too. In addition to that, researches in this area have been focusing on the nanoscale second phase embedded in the polymeric matrix that gives physical and chemical properties that cannot be achieved by ordinary material synthesis methods. Researchers have also discovered that incorporating the right amount of nanoparticles into a polymer matrix pose a remarkable strength and flexibility and that industries should be able to integrate the outcome of their researches widely in high performance applications in the field of biomedical engineering, aerospace, marine, high speed parts in engines, packaging and sports gadgets. With the new methods of synthesis and tools for characterisation, nanocomposite science and technology is now experiencing explosive growth. Taking advantage of the need and the properties of the nanomaterials, through this research a new nano-enhanced composite is developed through addition of nanofiller into epoxy matrix to cater for varied applications. The physical and mechanical properties of the identified nanomaterial reinforced polymer composite were characterised by experimentation in order to ascertain the improvement in tensile, compressive and flexural properties as well as the adhesion of the matrix to the substrate. Also, while addressing potential enhancements like improved mechanical strength, better dimensional stability, higher thermal stability, better abrasion resistance, hard and wear resistance, better chemical properties like better flame retardance, anticorrosive and antioxidation, adequate importance was given to easy and bulk processability and most importantly the commercial viability as well. This nano-enhanced nanocomposite was then optimised. Based on these results, it has been established that epoxy reinforced with 1% percent of nanoclay can significantly improve the mechanical properties without compromising the weight or processability of the composite. Thus, a futuristic and much promising nano-enhanced epoxy composite has been successfully made ready for commercialisation.