The effect of nanoclay on various material properties like damping and strength of typical thermoset polymers, such as epoxy and vinyl ester, was investigated. Different environmental conditions typical for high-voltage transmission pylons made of composite materials were taken into account. Resin samples were prepared with various clay weight fractions ranging from 0% to 3%. Scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and rheological analysis were used to study the morphology and the structure of the nanocomposites. For all nanoclay-modified thermoset polymers, the morphology was found to be of exfoliated structure mainly. Static, uniaxial tensile tests showed that the addition of nanoclay to thermoset polymers led to a beneficial effect on the stiffness, whereas the tensile strength and ductility significantly decreased. When exposed to different environmental conditions, nanoclay was found to have a positive influence on the dynamic properties, analysed by a dynamic mechanical thermal analysis. The addition of nanoclay to the thermoset resin led to an increase of the damping properties by up to 28% for vinyl ester and up to 6% for epoxy at -20 degrees C. The dielectric properties were evaluated by electrical breakdown strength tests resulting in 11% better insulating behaviour for nanoclay-modified vinyl ester.
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- Thermoset polymers
- Material testing
- Environmental ageing