Effect of particle morphology on the mechanical and thermo-mechanical behavior of polymer composites


Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences




Fiber reinforced polymer composites have been used in many applications, such as in automobile, aerospace and naval industries, due basically to their high strength-to-weight and modulus-to-weight, among other properties. Even though particles are usually not able to lead to the level of reinforcement of fibers, particle reinforced polymer composites have been proposed for many new applications due to their low cost, easy fabrication and isotropic properties. In this work, polymer composites were prepared by incorporating glass particles of different morphologies on poly(aryl sulfones) matrices. Particles with aspect ratios equal to 1, 2.5 and 10 were used. The prepared composites were characterized using electron microscopy and thermal analysis. Mechanical properties of the composites were evaluated using a four-point bending test. The thermo-mechanical behavior of the obtained composites was also investigated. The results showed that the morphology of the particles alter significantly the mechanical properties of composites. Particles with larger values of aspect ratio led to large elastic modulus but low levels of strain at failure. This result was explained by modeling the thermo-mechanical behavior of the composites using a viscoelastic model. Parameters of the model, obtained from a Cole-Cole type of plot, demonstrated that interactions at the polymer-reinforcing agent interface were higher for composites with large aspect ratio particles. Higher levels of interactions at interfaces can lead to higher degrees of stress transfer and, consequently, to composites with large elastic modulus, as experimentally observed.

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