Viscoelastic Characterization of Vapor-Grown Carbon Nanofiber/Vinyl Ester Nanocomposites using a Response Surface Methodology
Drake, Daniel Adam
AdvisorSullivan, Rani Warsi
CommitteePittman, Charles U., Jr.
Lacy, Thomas E.
The effects of vapor-grown carbon nanofiber (VGCNF) weight fraction, applied stress, and temperature on the viscoelastic responses (creep strain, creep rate, and creep compliance) of VGCNF/vinyl ester (VE) nanocomposites were studied using a central composite design (CCD). The nanocomposite test articles were fabricated by high shear mixing, casting, curing, and post-curing in an open face mold under a nitrogen environment. Short-term creep/creep recovery experiments were conducted at prescribed combinations of temperatures (23.8 – 69.2 C), applied stresses (30.2 – 49.8 MPa), and VGCNF weight fractions (0.00 – 1.00 parts of VGCNF per hundred parts of resin, phr) determined from the CCD. The response surface models (RSMs) for predicting these viscoelastic responses were developed using the least squares method and an analysis of variance procedure. The response surface estimates indicate that increasing the VGCNF weight fraction decreases the creep resistance of the VGCNF/VE nanocomposites at high temperatures (46.5 – 69.2 C).