Synergistic toughening and electrical functionalization of an epoxy using MWCNTs and silane- /plasma-activated basalt fibers

Calvin Ralph, Dong Quan, Peter Moloney, Declan Carolan, Hisham Abourayana, Alojz Ivankovic, Denis Dowling, Neal Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


This work studied the effects of adding short basalt fibers (BFs) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), both separately and in combination, on the mechanical properties, fracture toughness, and electrical conductivity of an epoxy polymer. The surfaces of the short BFs were either treated using a silane coupling agent or further functionalized by atmospheric plasma to enhance the adhesion between the BFs and the epoxy. The results of a single fiber fragmentation test demonstrated a significantly improved BF/epoxy adhesion upon applying the plasma treatment to the BFs. This resulted in better mechanical properties and fracture toughness of the composites containing the plasma-activated BFs. The improved BF/epoxy adhesion also affected the hybrid toughening performance of the BFs and MWCNTs. In particular, synergistic toughening effects were observed when the plasma-activated BFs/MWCNTs hybrid modifiers were used, while only additive toughening effects occurred for the silane-sized BFs/MWCNTs hybrid modifiers. This work demonstrated a potential to develop strong, tough, and electrically conductive epoxy composites by adding hybrid BF/MWCNT modifiers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49605
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Jan 2021


  • applications
  • conducting polymers
  • graphene and fullerenes
  • mechanical properties
  • microscopy
  • nanotubes


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