Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Aerospace Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

3 Vehicle Technology Research Institute, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Aerogel (N-GA) nanomaterials can significantly improve the functional efficiency of polymer composites due to its three-dimensional structure and suitable physical properties. The preparation process affects the performance improvement. In this study, the effect of preparation method and the mechanisms affecting the strength behavior of Nitrogen-doped Graphene Aerogel/Epoxy (N-GA/E) nanocomposites was investigated. For this purpose, nanoparticles of Graphene Oxide (GO) were produced using Hummers’ method; then, the N-GA was synthesized using the hydrothermal method and the freeze-drying process. The characterization experiments were used in order to confirm the structure and quality of the synthesized nanomaterials. Then, specimens of nanocomposite were prepared by adding weight percentages of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, and 2 from the synthesized N-GA to the epoxy resin. In other preparation processes, N-GA/E nanocomposite specimens were produced using auxiliary solvents. After tensile tests, the best strength performance was observed in the specimens with the preparation process in which acetone solvent was used. The tensile strength and modulus of these nanocomposite specimens have increased by 23% and 20% compared to neat epoxy specimens, respectively. Also, the optimal weight percentage of N-GA nanomaterials for distribution in epoxy is 0.1 wt.%. Microscopic images of the fracture surfaces of the specimens used in the tensile test showed that the placement of N-GA porous plates in epoxy with the creation of the mechanism for micro crack formation led to more energy absorption during the stretching process of the N-GA/E nanocomposites.


[1]     Geim, A. K., Novoselov, K. S., The Rise of Graphene, Nanoscience and Technology, 2009, pp. 11-19, 10.1142/9789814287005_0002.
[2]     Chen, P., Yang, J., Li, S., Wang, Z., Xiao, T., Qian, Y., and Yu, S., Hydrothermal Synthesis of Macroscopic Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Hydrogels for Ultrafast Supercapacitor, Nano Energy, Vol. 2, No. 11, 2013, pp. 249-256, 10.1016/j.nanoen.2012.09.003.
[3]     Gorgolis, G., Galiotis, C., Graphene Aerogels: A Review, 2D Materials, Vol. 4, 2017, 032001, 10.1088/2053-1583/aa7883.
[4]     Wang, H., Maiyalagan, T., and Wang, X., Review on Recent Progress in Nitrogen-Doped Graphene: Synthesis, Characterization, and its Potential Applications, Acs Catalysis, Vol. 2, No. 5, 2012, pp. 781-794, 10.1021/cs200652y.
[5]     Rowley Nealea, S. J., Randviir, E. P., Abo Dena,  A. S., and Banksa, C. E., An Overview of Recent Applications of Reduced Graphene Oxide as a Basis of Electroanalytical Sensing Platforms, Applied Materials Today, Vol. 10, March 2018, pp. 218–226, 10.1016/j.apmt.2017.11.010.
[6]     Kumar, A., Sharma, K., and Dixit, A. R., A Review of the Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Graphene and Its Hybrid Polymer Nanocomposites for Structural Applications, Journal of materials science, Vol. 54. 2019, pp. 5992-6026, 10.1007/s10853-018-03244-3.
[7]     Bafana, A. P., Yan, X., Wei, X., Patel, M., Guo, Z., Wei, S., and et al., Polypropylene Nanocomposites Reinforced with Low Weight Percent Graphene Nanoplatelets, Compos Part B- Engineering, Vol. 109, 15 January 2017, pp. 101-107, 10.1016/j.compositesb.2016.10.048.
[8]     Cong, L., Li, X., Ma, L., Peng, Z., Yang, C., Han, P., Wang, G., Li, H., Song, W., and Song, G., High-Performance Graphene Oxide/Carbon Nanotubes Aerogel-Polystyrene Composites: Preparation and Mechanical Properties, Materials Letters, Vol. 214, 1 March 2018, pp. 190–193,  10.1016/j.matlet.2017.12.015.
[9]     Phetarporn, V., Loykulnant, S., Kongkaew, C., Seubsai, A., and Prapainainar, P., Composite Properties of Graphene-Based Materials/Natural Rubber Vulcanized Using Electron Beam Irradiation, Materials Today Communications, Vol. 19, June 2019, pp. 413-424, 10.1016/j.mtcomm.2019.03.007.
[10]  Bhasin, M., Wu, S., Ladani, R. B., Kinloch, A. J., Wang, C. H., and Mouritz, A. P., Increasing the Fatigue Resistance of Epoxy Nanocomposites by Aligning Graphene Nanoplatelets, International Journal of Fatigue, Vol. 113, August 2018, pp. 88-97, 10.1016/j.ijfatigue.2018.04.001.
[11]  Yang, M., Zhao, N., Cui, Y., Gao, W., Zhao, Q., Gao, C., Bai, H., and Xie, T., Biomimetic Architectured Graphene Aerogel with Exceptional Strength and Resilience, ACS Nano, Vol. 11, No. 7, 2017, pp. 6817-6824, 10.1021/acsnano.7b01815.
[12]  Huang, Z. M., Liu, X. Y., Wu, W. G., Li, Y. Q., and Wang, H., Highly Elastic and Conductive Graphene /Carboxymethylcellulose Aerogels for Flexible Strain-Sensing Materials, Journal of Materials Science, Vol. 52, 2017, pp. 12540-12552, 10.1007/s10853-017-1374-1.
[13]  Wang, M., Shao, C., Zhou, S., Yang, J., and Xu, F., Super-Compressible, Fatigue Resistant and Anisotropic Carbon Aerogels for Piezoresistive Sensors, Cellulose, Vol. 25, 2018, pp. 7329-7340. 10.1007/s10570-018-2080-0.
[14]  Ma, Y., Chen, Y., Three-Dimensional Graphene Networks: Synthesis, Properties and Applications, National Science Review, Vol. 2, 2015, pp. 40-53, 10.1093/nsr/nwu072.
[15]  Kim, J., Han, N. M., Kim, J., Lee, J., Kim, J. K., and Jeon, S., Highly Conductive and Fracture-Resistant Epoxy Composite Based On Non-Oxidized Graphene Flake Aerogel, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Vol. 10, No. 43, 2018, pp. 37507-37516. 10.1021/acsami.8b13415.
[16]  Chiou, Y. C., Chou, H. Y., and Shen, M. Y., Effects of Adding Graphene Nanoplatelets and Nanocarbon Aerogels to Epoxy Resins and Their Carbon Fiber Composites, Materials & Design, Vol. 178, 15 September 2019, pp. 107869, 10.1016/j.matdes.2019.107869.
[17]  Hummers Jr, W. S., Offeman, R. E., Preparation of Graphitic Oxide, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1958, pp. 1339-1339, 10.1021/ja01539a017.
[18]  Panchakarla, L., Subrahmanyam, K., Saha, S., Govindaraj, A., Krishnamurthy, H., Waghmare, U., and Rao, C., Synthesis, Structure, and Properties of Boron‐and Nitrogen‐Doped Graphene, Advanced Materials, Vol. 21, No. 46, 2009, pp. 4726-4730, 10.1002/adma.200901285.
[19]  Hosseini, S. G., Gholami, S., and Mahyari, M., Highly Dispersed Ni–Mn Bimetallic Nanoparticles Embedded in 3D Nitrogen-Doped Graphene as an Efficient Catalyst for the Thermal Decomposition of Ammonium Perchlorate, New Journal of Chemistry, No. 8, 2018, pp. 5889-5899,  10.1039/C8NJ00613J.
[20]  Stankovich, S., Dikin, D. A., Piner, R. D., Kohlhaas, K. A., Kleinhammes, A., Jia, Y., Wu, Y., Nguyen, S. T., and Ruoff, R. S., Synthesis of Graphene-Based Nanosheets via Chemical Reduction of Exfoliated Graphite Oxide, Carbon, Vol. 45, No. 7, 2007, pp. 1558-1565, 10.1016/j.carbon.2007.02.034.
[21]  Tuinstra, F., Koenig, J. L., Raman Spectrum of Graphite, The Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol. 53, No. 3, 1970, pp.1126-1130, 10.1063/1.1674108.
[22]  Qiu, B., Xing, M., and Zhang, J., Mesoporous TiO2 Nanocrystals Grown in Situ On Graphene Aerogels for High Photocatalysis and Lithium-Ion Batteries, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014, pp 5852-5855, 10.1021/ja500873u
[23]  Pimenta, M., Dresselhaus, G., Dresselhaus, M. S., Cancado, L., Jorio, A., and Saito, R., Studying Disorder in Graphite-Based Systems by Raman Spectroscopy, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, No. 11, 2007, pp. 1276-1290, 10.1039/B613962K.
[24]  Chandrasekaran, S., Seidel, C., and Schulte, K., Preparation and Characterization of Graphite Nano-Platelet (GNP)/Epoxy Nano-Composite: Mechanical, Electrical and Thermal Properties, European Polymer Journal, Vol. 49, No. 12, 2013, pp. 3878-3888, 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2013.10.008.
[25]  Abdullah, S. I., Ansari, M. N. M., Mechanical Properties of Graphene Oxide (GO)/Epoxy Composites, HBRC Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2015, pp. 151–156,  10.1016/j.hbrcj.2014.06.001.
[26]  Ni, Y., Chen, L., Teng, K., Shi, J., Qian, X., and Xu, Z., Superior Mechanical Properties of Epoxy Composites Reinforced by 3D Interconnected Graphene Skeleton, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces,Vol. 7, No. 21, 2015, pp. 11583-11591, 10.1021/acsami.5b02552.
[27]  Bortz, D. R., Heras, E. G., and Martin-Gullon, I., Impressive Fatigue Life and Fracture Toughness Improvements in Graphene Oxide/Epoxy Composites, Macromolecules,Vol. 45, No. 1, 2012, pp. 238-245, 10.1021/ma201563k.
[28]  Loos, M. R., Yang, J., Feke, D. L., Manas, I., Unal, S., and Younes, U., Enhancement of Fatigue Life of Polyurethane Composites Containing Carbon Nanotubes, Elsevier, Vol. 44, 2013, pp. 740–744, 10.1016/j.compositesb.2012.01.038.
Conflicts of Interest
The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results.