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Prediction of mechanical properties following the dispersion assessment of flame retardant filler/polymer composites based on the multifractal analysis of SEM images

Mills, S. L. and Lees, Graham C. and Liauw, Chris and Rothon, Roger N. and Lynch, Stephen (2005) Prediction of mechanical properties following the dispersion assessment of flame retardant filler/polymer composites based on the multifractal analysis of SEM images. Journal of macromolecular science: part B - physics, 44 (6). pp. 1137-1151. ISSN 1525-609X

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Abstract

Backscattered electron scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging of the distribution of metal hydroxide filler particles in cryo-cut surfaces of poly(ethylene-ran-vinyl acetate)/metal hydroxide composites followed by multifractal analysis of the images has led to a numerical measure of dispersion quality, i.e. the width (D0-D4) of the multifractal spectrum. The D0-D4 values were then determined for a series of composites that formed a quadratic algorithm screening experimental design where the following four factors: type of filler (magnesium hydroxide or aluminium hydroxide), filler loading (30% w/w-60% w/w), vinyl acetate content (20% w/w and 28% w/w), and isostearic acid coating of the filler, were investigated. Two multiple regression models were constructed to examine the dependence of tensile strength and elongation at break on dispersion quality and composite formulation. Predictions of tensile strength and elongation at break were forecast and the results compared with experimentally measured data. A positive correlation was found between the as measured data and predictions from the multiple regression model. Examination of the models indicated that composite tensile strength and elongation at break decreased as a function of decreasing dispersion quality confirming the importance of dispersion quality in defining ultimate material properties.

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