Enhanced thermal stability and lifetime of epoxy nanocomposites using covalently functionalized clay: experimental and modelling†
The present work aims at finding a relationship between kinetic models of thermal degradation process with the physiochemical structure of epoxy–clay nanocomposites in order to understand its service temperature. In this work, two different types of modified clays, including clay modified with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) and a commercial organoclay, were covalently and non-covalently incorporated into epoxy matrix, respectively. The effect of different concentrations of silanized clay on thermal behaviour of epoxy nanocomposites were first investigated in order to choose the optimum clay concentration. Afterwards, thermal characteristics of the degradation process of epoxy nanocomposites were obtained by TGA analysis and the results were employed to determine the kinetic parameters using model-free isoconversional and model-fitting methods. The obtained kinetic parameters were used to model the entire degradation process. The results showed that the incorporation of the different modified clay into epoxy matrix change the mathematical model of the degradation process, associating with different orientations of clay into epoxy matrix confirming by XRD results. The obtained models for each epoxy nanocomposite systems were used to investigate the dependence of degradation rate and degradation time on temperature and conversion degree. Our results provide an explanation as to how the life time of epoxy and its nanocomposites change in a wide range of operating temperatures as a result of their structural changes.