Highly dispersed nanosilica-epoxy resins with enhanced mechanical properties

Chenggang Chen, Ryan S. Justice, Dale W. Schaefer, Jeffery W. Baur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epoxy-nanocomposite resins filled with 12-nm spherical silica particles were investigated for their thermal and mechanical properties as a function of silica loading. The nanoparticles were easily dispersed with minimal aggregation for loadings up to 25 wt% as determined using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering (USAXS). A proportional decrease in cure temperatures and glass transition temperature (for loadings of 10 wt% and above) was observed with increased silica loading. The morphology determined by USAXS is consistent with a zone around the silica particles from which neighboring particles are excluded. The "exclusion zone" extends to 10× the particle diameter. For samples with loadings less than 10 wt%, increases of 25% in tensile modulus and 30% in fracture toughness were obtained. More highly loaded samples continued to increase in modulus, but decreased in strength and fracture toughness. Overall, the addition of nanosilica is shown as a promising method for property enhancement of aerospace epoxy composite resins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3805-3815
Number of pages11
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 11 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Mechanical properties
  • Nanocomposites
  • Small-angle scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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