Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Committee Chair

Rakesh K. Gupta.


Moisture diffusion was studied through neat resin as well as glass-fiber reinforced vinyl ester samples, both containing up to 5 wt% montmorillonite clay. Transient and steady-state diffusion experiments were carried out with both neat resin as well as glass-fiber reinforced samples. Effect of saline and alkaline solutions on the process of diffusion was studied. It was found that the diffusivity decreased due to the presence of nanoclay in polymer. SEM images of FRPs were taken after two months of immersion in distilled water at room temperature. The SEM images revealed that the presence of clay indeed protected the glass-fibers. Effect of temperature was studied by conducting transient diffusion experiment at several temperatures. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) was conducted on nanocomposite samples to understand the variations in the molecular structure. Glass transition temperature and storage modulus in torsion were found to increase significantly with increasing amount of nanoclay in polymer. Tensile tests and impact tests were carried out to quantify the influence of nanoparticles on mechanical properties of nanocomposite samples. Tensile modulus was found to increase with increasing amount of nanoclay at all clay-loading levels. However, impact strength was found to increase only at low clay loading levels. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was also conducted on nanocomposites. The results showed that there were no obvious differences between the weight-loss patterns of the nanocomposites and those of the neat resin.