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Department of Chemical Engineering; Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Huntsman–Merrimack MIRALON® carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a novel, highly entan-gled, commercially available, and scalable format of nanotubes. As-received and acid-treated CNTs were added to aerospace grade epoxy (CYCOM® 977-3), and the composites were characterized. The epoxy resin is expected to infiltrate the network of the CNTs and could improve mechanical properties. Epoxy composites were tested for flexural and viscoelastic properties and the as-re-ceived and acid treated CNTs were characterized using Field-Emission Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and Thermogravimetric Analysis. Composites containing 0.4 wt% as-received CNTs showed an increase in flexural strength, from 136.9 MPa for neat epoxy to 147.5 MPa. In addition, the flexural modulus increased from 3.88 GPa for the neat epoxy to 4.24 GPa and 4.49 GPa for the 2.0 wt% and 3.0 wt% as-received CNT/epoxy compo-sites, respectively. FE-SEM micrographs indicated good dispersion of the CNTs in the as-received CNT/epoxy composites and the 10 M nitric acid 6 h treatment at 120 °C CNT/epoxy composites. CNTs treated with 10 M nitric acid for 6 h at 120 °C added oxygen containing functional groups (C– O, C=O, and O=C–O) and removed iron catalyst present on the as-received CNTs, but the flexural properties were not improved compared to the as-received CNT/epoxy composites.

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