C.B. Hatter, Y. Gogotsi
Keywords: nanocomposites, MXenes, polymers, mechanical
Summary:Polymers offer a wide variety of uses in aerospace, additive manufacturing, and energy storage applications, to name a few. These materials provide both flexibility and durability, however mechanical stability and electrical conductivity can be further improved with the incorporation of filler materials. Two-dimensional (2D) transition metal carbides and nitrides (MXenes) offer rich chemistries and metallic conductivity and hydrophilicity coupled with good mechanical properties. Additionally, the aqueous environment for MXene synthesis results in various tunable surface terminations. MXene-polymer composites have been studied as electrodes in supercapacitors and Li-ion batteries, water desalination, electromagnetic interference shielding, and biomedical applications. However, few studies have focused on the role of MXenes in improving mechanical and electrical properties of epoxy-matrix composites through optimized dispersion of filler and strong bonding at the interfacial region. Ti3C2 MXene has been shown to have a Young’s modulus of 330 GPa, surpassing both GO and rGO and making it one of the strongest solution-processable 2D materials. Additionally, effects of glass transition temperature, onset of curing, and heat of reaction with incorporation of MXene nanofillers have yet to be explored. Here, we present a systematic study of Ti3C2 MXene-epoxy composites with a strong interface and uniform dispersion resulting in improved both electrical and mechanical properties. An increase in Tg and decrease in heat of reaction were also observed for small quantities of MXene filler. Lastly, we explored transferring of MXene properties to common epoxy-based fiber-reinforced composites to add new damage-sensing capabilities.