Graphene Dispersion and Control During Cure In Thermoset Matrix Via High Shear Continuous Reactor

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Polymer Science and Engineering


Graphene nanocomposites have generated considerable interest for high performance nanocomposites with the potential for superior mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties due to their large two-dimensional aspect ratio and excellent thermal and electrical characteristics. However, due to that same large, flat surface, high van der Waals interactions between individual graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) cause aggregation and lead to graphitic structures. These graphitic structures (as received/primary agglomerates) must be exfoliated prior to or during processing, and re-agglomeration (secondary agglomeration) must be prevented during cure for optimal performance. Several approaches for dispersion have been previously utilized, including surfactants, grafting, and chemical modification of the graphene itself. If not well dispersed and controlled during cure, poor dispersion will result which leads to poor mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. In this work, the simultaneous graphene dispersion and prepolymer conversion of a graphene dispersed high Tg thermoset nanocomposite are achieved through the use of a high shear continuous reactor. Re-agglomeration is suppressed during cure by means of viscosity control, and the network's final properties will be characterized. Mechanical and thermal characterization via thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). Dispersion will be observed using optical and scanning electron microscopy, and the viscosity during cure monitored via rheology. This provides an efficient, scalable method of controlling nanoparticle dispersion while driving prepolymer conversion.

Publication Title

CAMX 2018 - Composites and Advanced Materials Expo