City Research Online

The effect of water absorption on the dielectric properties of epoxy nanocomposites

Zou, C., Fothergill, J. & Rowe, S. W. (2008). The effect of water absorption on the dielectric properties of epoxy nanocomposites. IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, 15(1), pp. 106-117. doi: 10.1109/t-dei.2008.4446741


In this research, the influence of water absorption on the dielectric properties of epoxy resin and epoxy micro-composites and nano-composites filled with silica has been studied. Nanocomposites were found to absorb significantly more water than unfilled epoxy. However, the microcomposite absorbed less water than unfilled epoxy: corresponding to reduced proportion of the epoxy in this composite. The glass transition temperatures of all the samples were measured by both differential scanning calorimetry and dielectric spectroscopy. The Tg decreased as the water absorption increased and, in all cases, corresponded to a drop of approximately 20K as the humidity was increased from 0% to 100%. This implied that for all the samples, the amount of water in the resin component of the composites was almost identical. It was concluded that the extra water found in the nanocomposites was located around the surface of the nanoparticles. This was confirmed by measuring the water uptake, and the swelling and density change, as a function of humidity as water was absorbed. The water shell model, originally proposed by Lewis and developed by Tanaka, has been further developed to explain low frequency dielectric spectroscopy results in which percolation of charge carriers through overlapping water shells was shown to occur. This has been discussed in terms of a percolation model. At 100% relative humidity, water is believed to surround the nanoparticles to a depth of approximately 5 monolayers. A second layer of water is proposed that is dispersed by sufficiently concentrated to be conductive; this may extend for approximately 25 nm. If all the water had existed in a single layer surrounding a nanoparticle, this layer would have been approximately 3 to 4 nm thick at 100%. This "characteristic thickness" of water surrounding a given size of nanoparticle appeared to be independent of the concentration of nanoparticles but approximately proportional to water uptake. Filler particles that have surfaces that are functionalized to be hydrophobic considerably reduce the amount of water absorbed in nanocomposites under the same conditions of humidity. Comments are made on the possible effect on electrical aging.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2008 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: Presidents's Portfolio
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of The effect of water absorption on the dielectric properties of epoxy nanocomposites.pdf]
Download (511kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login