Essential work of fracture of poly(Ïμ-caprolactone)/boehmite alumina nanocomposites: Effect of surface coating

Ferenc Tuba, Vincent M. Khumalo, József Karger-Kocsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The essential work of fracture (EWF) approach was adopted to reveal the effect of nanofillers on the toughness of poly (Ïμ-caprolactone) (PCL)/boehmite alumina (BA) nanocomposites. Synthetic BA particles with different surface treatments were dispersed into the PCL matrix by extrusion melt compounding. The morphology of the composites was studied by scanning electron microscopy. Differential scanning calorimetry and wide-angle X-ray scattering were used to detect changes in the crystalline structure of PCL. Also, mode I type EWF tests, dynamic mechanical analysis, and quasi-static tensile tests were applied to study the effect of the BA nanofillers on the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites. BA was homogeneously dispersed and acted as heterogeneous crystallization nucleant and a nonreinforcing filler in PCL. The tensile modulus and yield strength slightly increased and the yield strain decreased with increasing BA content (up to 10 wt %). The effect of the BA surface treatment with octylsilane was negligible by contrast to that with alkylbenzene sulfonic acid (OS2). Like the tensile mechanical data, the essential and nonessential work of fracture parameters did not change significantly either. The improved PCL/BA adhesion in case of OS2 treatment excluded the usual EWF treatise. This was circumvented by energy partitioning between yielding and necking. The yielding-related EWF decreased, whereas the nonessential EWF increased with BA content and with better interfacial adhesion. This was attributed to the effect of matrix/filler debonding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2950-2958
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 5 2013


  • morphology
  • nanoparticles
  • nanowires and nanocrystals
  • polyesters
  • structure-property relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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