A 'Water Shell' Model for the Dielectric Properties of Hydrated Silica-filled Epoxy Nano-composites
conference contributionposted on 20.08.2008, 13:34 by Chen Zou, John C. Fothergill, Stephen W. Rowe
The electrical properties of epoxy resin have been studied as a function of hydration. The epoxy was studied in an un-filled state, filled with 40 µm SiO2 particles, and filled with 50 nm SiO2 particles. The relative humidity was controlled by saturated salt solutions at ambient temperatures from 298-353 K. Measurements were made using dielectric spectroscopy over the frequency range 10-3-105 Hz. The hydration isotherm (i.e. the mass uptake of water) was established by measuring the mass as a function of relative humidity (RH). It was found that the nanocomposites absorb up to 60% more water than the unfilled and micro-filled epoxies. Dielectric spectroscopy shows different conduction and quasi-DC behaviours at very low frequencies (<10-2 Hz) with activation energies dependent on the hydration and temperature. These observations have led to the development of a “water shell” model to explain this phenomenon.