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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2009, Article ID 101870, 6 pages
Research Article

Fracture Toughness of Vapor Grown Carbon Nanofiber-Reinforced Polyethylene Composites

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539, USA
2Facultad de Ingeniería Mecánica y Eléctrica, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, 66451, Nuevo León, CP, Mexico

Received 2 November 2008; Accepted 22 June 2009

Academic Editor: Alan K. T. Lau

Copyright © 2009 A. R. Adhikari 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.


The impact fracture behavior of a vapor grown carbon nanofiber (VGCNF) reinforced high-density polyethylene (PE) composite was evaluated. The samples consisting of pure PE and composites with 10 wt% and 20 wt% of VGCNFs were prepared by a combination of hot-pressing and extrusion methods. Extrusion was used to produce samples with substantially different shear histories. The fracture behavior of these samples was analyzed using the essential work of fracture (EWF) approach. The results showed an increase of 292% in the essential work of fracture for the loading of 10 wt%. Further increasing fiber loading to 20 wt% caused the essential work of fracture to increase only 193% with respect to the unmodified material. Evaluation of the fracture surface morphology indicated that the fibril frequency and microvoid size within the various fiber loadings depended strongly on processing conditions.