The increasing use of polymer nanocomposites in armor applications requires an understanding of how these materials behave at strain-rates relevant to ballistic impacts. Of particular interest is the role of the microstructure on the failure of these materials under dynamic tensile loading. In the present study, plate impact experiments were conducted in order to measure the spall strength of a neat epoxy (EPON 828) and an epoxy–carbon nanotube composite. The addition of pristine carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to the epoxy resulted in a composite material with a lower spall strength than the neat epoxy matrix material. Recovered composite fragments were imaged with a scanning electron microscope. Instances of nanotube pull-out were identified on internal fracture surfaces. The lower spall threshold of the epoxy–CNT composite was attributed to the comparatively weak epoxy–CNT interface, which provides potential sites from which spall failure can favorably nucleate.

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Journal of Dynamic Behavior of Materials
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Huneault, J. (J.), Pepper, J.E. (J. E.), Rahmat, M. (M.), Ashrafi, B. (B.), & Petel, O. (2019). Spall Characterization of EPON 828 Epoxy with Embedded Carbon Nanotubes. Journal of Dynamic Behavior of Materials. doi:10.1007/s40870-018-00180-w