Surface and Subsurface Analysis of Epoxy-MWCNT Composite Exposed to Ultraviolet Radiation

T. Lam, E. Petersen, J. Gorham, K. Scott, T. Nguyen, C. Long, R. Sharma, J.A. Liddle
National Institute of Standards and Technology, US

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, polymer composites, UV degradation

Summary:

There is growing interest in incorporating multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) into polymer matrices to form composites with enhanced properties (electrical, thermal, optical, mechanical, etc.). However, organic polymers are prone to degrade under ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which could lead to the release of the MWCNTs from the composite into the environment. Understanding the degradation process in polymer-MWCNT composites is important in determining what constraints may exist on the use of such materials. We have begun to examine nanocomposite degradation by analyzing the surface and subsurface morphology of an epoxy-(3.5 mass%) MWCNT composite that has undergone accelerated UV exposure to simulate long-term aging.