Adhesion Strengthening Mechanism of Carbon Nanotube-Embedded Epoxy Composites : A Fracture-Based Approach

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

4 Scopus Citations
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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7221–7229
Journal / PublicationACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume14
Issue number5
Online published12 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022

Abstract

Interfacial bonding integrity between different materials is critical to maintain the functionality of the entire physical system in any scale, ranging from building structures down to semiconductor transistors. For example, micro-patterned polymers embedded with conductive nanoparticles [e.g., carbon nanotubes (CNTs)] bonded with integrated circuits have been applied as many emerging chemical/biological microelectronic sensors. Nonetheless, it is challenging to measure and ensure the interfacial bonding integrity between materials for consistent and sustainable operations. Herein, we apply multiple interface characterization methods based on micro-engineering and microscopy as an integrative approach to reveal the mechanism of interfacial reinforcement by adding CNTs in a matrix material. An epoxy/CNT micro-beam is fabricated onto a silicon substrate, sandwiching a gold layer as an interfacial precrack. Superlayers of chromium are then repeatedly deposited onto the microstructure, inducing stepwise increasing stress over the materials and the corresponding micro-beam bending after detachment from the bonded interface. Accordingly, we can quantify key interfacial fracture parameters such as crack length, steady-state energy release rate, and fracture toughness. By further examining the formation and distribution of the micro-/nanostructures along the debonded interface using bright-field microscopy, 3D fluorescence imaging, and scanning electron microscopy, we can identify the underlying dominant interfacial strengthening and fracture toughening mechanisms. We further compare experimental results and theoretical predictions to quantify the interfacial bonding properties between epoxy/CNT and silicon and unveil the underlying reinforcement mechanisms. The results provide insights to develop polymer/nanoparticle composites with reinforced interfacial bonding integrity for more sustainable and reliable applications including microelectronics, surface coatings, and adhesive materials.

Research Area(s)

  • interface, fracture, epoxy, CNT, microstructure, POLYMER COMPOSITES, PHOTORESIST, BEHAVIOR, NANOCOMPOSITES, PERFORMANCE, FABRICATION, ALUMINUM, DEFECTS