Graphene, which is a one atom thick layer of graphite, has been considerably studied in the past decade due to its extraordinary physical properties. The development of new routes of synthesis facilitates the use of graphene in polymer nanocomposite. The addition of very small amounts (<1%) of graphene in a polymer matrix does not only increase its thermal and mechanical properties, but it would also enhance permeability, by limiting the diffusion of water through the material. Graphene-polymer nanocomposite would be an interesting alternative to conventional polymer nanocomposite such as nanoclay-polymer nanocomposite. In this study, graphene oxide is synthesized from graphite flakes, following the Tour method, and modified with silane to improve its compatibility with the polymer. Polymer nanocomposite made from vinylester resin and 0.5 wt% graphene oxide is prepared as well as other types of typically used polymer nanocomposite such as graphite flake, silica fume or nanoclay based composite. Samples are soaked in a water bath to study the water absorption of these nanocomposites. Mechanical property measurements and thermal analyses are performed to evaluate the benefit of using graphene oxide. Results show a significant enhancement of the mechanical and thermal properties with a graphene oxide content ten times lower than the one needed with conventional nanoparticles. Moreover, unlike nanoclay-based polymer nanocomposite, graphene oxide does not increase water absorption at saturation.
- barrier properties
- mechanical properties