Poster Abstract

March 5, 2010

Effect of Nanofiber Reinforcement on Mode-I Fracture Behavior in Silane Polymers

Alex del Valle
Summer Research Site: Caltech

The extensive use of polymers in manufacturing industries of products ranging from automobiles to prosthetic limbs necessitates increased longevity and improved resistance to failure. The focus of this study is on the reinforcing effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on mode-I fracture in silane-based polymers. While carbon nanotubes have been shown to greatly enhance the mechanical properties in carbon-based polymers, it remains to be seen if these nanotubes have the same effect in silicon-based polymers. Samples are prepared using a silane polymer SVF-50 and varying concentrations of multi-walled carbon nanotubes. The propagation of a self-induced crack is monitored through a simple image acquisition technique. Using digital image correlation, the strain is quantified in local regions of interest throughout the sample. This characterization yields a measure of the reinforcing effect of the carbon nanotubes. Results are compared to a numerical cohesive element model in ABAQUS. Mentors: G. Ravichandran and C. Kovalchick