This study involves the investigation of the geometry effect of nano-fillers on thermally induced dimensional stability of epoxy composites by experimentally evaluating the linear coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). Carbon nanofibers (CNF) were chosen as the filler in epoxy matrix to investigate the effect of an aspect ratio on the CTE of the nanocomposites at three different volume fractions of 0.5, 1, and 2% of the nano-filler. The composites were fabricated using a mechanical mixing method. The CTE values were evaluated by measuring thermal strains of the composites and also compared with a micromechanics model. It was observed that the composites with short CNF (average L/d = 10) show better thermal stability than one of the composites with long CNF (average L/d = 70), and the thermal stability of the composites was proportional to the volume fraction of the filler in each composite. In addition, the CTE of mutliwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) reinforced epoxy composites was evaluated and compared with the CTE of the CNF reinforced composites. Interestingly, the MWNT reinforced composites show the greatest thermal stability with an 11.5% reduction in the CTE over the pure epoxy. The experimental data was compared with micromechanics model.
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