Mechanical properties of aerospace epoxy composites reinforced with 2D nano-fillers: current status and road to industrialization
High-performance epoxy composites find application in the aerospace industry. Although epoxy is a high-performance polymer, its fracture toughness is compromised due to its highly cross-linked nature. Nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene derivatives, and inorganic 2-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials are being explored to improve epoxy composites' mechanical properties. Graphene is one of the most popular 2D nano-reinforcing agents for epoxy composites. Following graphene discovery, the research community's attention was brought to various other few-atom thick 2D nanomaterials. Hence, apart from graphene, inorganic nanosheets such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), etc., are also being studied as modifiers for enhancing the mechanical performance of epoxy composites. Graphene, TMDs and hBN are known to possess a high aspect ratio, high specific surface area and inherently high mechanical strength and stiffness, contributing to a stronger and tougher composite. Despite that, the challenges associated with these nanomaterials, such as dispersion issues, lack of standardization, underlying health hazards, etc., have hampered their commercialization. It has been long past a decade since the discovery of graphene, yet there are concerns regarding the lab to industry scale-up, and health and environmental hazards associated with nanomaterials for the fabrication of aerospace composites. This review offers a comprehensive literature survey and a perspective into the possible ways of bridging the gaps between the laboratory research and industrialization of 2D nanosheet-filled epoxy composites.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles