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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 747963, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/747963
Research Article

Preparation, Characterization, Thermal, and Flame-Retardant Properties of Green Silicon-Containing Epoxy/Functionalized Graphene Nanosheets Composites

1Department of Power Mechanical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
2Plastic Industry Development Center, Taichung 407, Taiwan
3Department of Computer Application Engineering, Far East University, Tainan 744, Taiwan
4Department of Material Science and Engineering, Far East University, Tainan 744, Taiwan
5Green Flame Retardant Material Research Laboratory, Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering, Hung-Kuang University, Taichung 433, Taiwan

Received 4 January 2013; Revised 15 March 2013; Accepted 15 March 2013

Academic Editor: Christian Brosseau

Copyright © 2013 Ming-Yuan Shen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In this investigation, silane was grafted onto the surface of graphene nanosheets (GNSs) through free radical reactions, to form Si-O-Et functional groups that can undergo the sol-gel reaction. To improve the compatibility between the polymer matrix and the fillers, epoxy monomer was modified using a silane coupling agent; then, the functionalized GNSs were added to the modified epoxy to improve the thermal stability and strengthen the flame-retardant character of the composites. High-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectrometry reveals that when the double bonds in VTES are grafted to the surfaces of GNSs. Solid-state 29Si nuclear magnetic resonance presents that the distribution of the signal associated with the T3 structure is wide and significant, indicating that the functionalization reaction of the silicone in the modified epoxy and VTES-GNSs increases the network-like character of the structures. Thermal gravimetric analysis, the integral procedure decomposition temperature, and limiting oxygen index demonstrate that the GNSs composites that contained silicon had a higher thermal stability and stronger flame-retardant character than pure epoxy. The dynamic storage modulus of all of the m-GNSs containing composites was significantly higher than that of the control epoxy, and the modulus of the composites increased with the concentration of m-GNSs.