Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Jeffrey Wiggins

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


Silica nanoparticles were surface modified with octa-functional glycidal polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (G-POSS) and incorporated into an epoxy/amine system in an effort to increase the mechanical performance of the inorganic/organic hybrid material. The silica nanoparticles were first functionalized with 3-aminoprpyltrimethoxysilane (APTMOS) at 5 and 10 weight percent, and then modified with G-POSS at ratios of 1:10 and 1:5 (APTMOS: G-POSS). The modified particles were then incorporated into an epoxy/amine network consisting of diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) and aromatic amine, diamine diphenyl sulfone (4,4’ DDS) at 1 and 5 weight percent, resulting in 8 different formulations. The incorporation of the modified silica nanoparticles caused changes in crosslink density depending on the amount functionalization density, G-POSS modification, and loading. Samples with nanoparticles of higher functionalization density and lower G-POSS modification exhibited higher crosslink density due to high functionalization and lower free volume. It was determined that incorporation of inorganic POSS cage disrupted network formation and chain packing. Similar trends follow suite with the strength of the material in compressive analysis. The incorporation of the nanoparticles slightly decreased the gel point of the material as compared to that of the control. Furthermore, it was determined that there is an optimum degree of modification and loading that would influence the mechanical properties and performance of the material to its optimal values.