Term of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Shaowen Xu

Committee Member 1

John DiCesare

Committee Member 2

Don McLemore

Committee Member 3

Mujibur Khan

Committee Member 3 Email



A novel approach was taken to achieve sidewall functionalization by reacting carbon nanotubes with the Grignard reagents phenylmagnesium and styrenylmagnesium bromides. Covalent attachment to the sidewalls was investigated using sedimentation studies and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Nanotubes were also characterized using scanning electron microscopy. Polystyrene/Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube (PS/MWCNT) nanocomposites were prepared via in-situ polymerization utilizing thermal bulk polymerization. The Young’s modulus is shown to increase by 4% compared to neat polystyrene by incorporating 0.1% functionalized MWCNTs. Elongation at break is shown to increase by more than 100% compared to neat polystyrene for functionalized MWCNT loading of 0.1wt%. Increases in both modulus and strength were also observed with increased nanotube loadings. The glass transition temperatures of the composites are shown to increase with the addition of functionalized MWCNTs.