Identification of preferred combination of factors in manufacturing bioepoxy/clay nanocomposites
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The current study aims to identify the preferred combination of factors for manufacturing bioepoxy/clay nanocomposites based on epoxidised soybean oil (ESO), including material formulation and manufacturing parameters for maximising tensile strengths of nanocomposites, using Taguchi design of experiments (DoEs). A Taguchi mixed-level DoEs with an L16 orthogonal array was selected. The response was set to achieve the maximum tensile strengths of nanocomposites with preferred combination of factors determined by the Pareto analysis of variance (ANOVA). The associated results revealed that the ESO content was found to be the most significant factor with a contribution percentage of 66.63% amongst nine factors investigated. This result was followed by two less significant factors, namely mechanical mixing speed and clay content with contribution percentages of 19.09 and 7.01%, respectively. However, other factors, namely clay type, curing agent type, mechanical mixing temperature and time, as well as sonication frequency and time, were categorised as non-significant factors from the manufacturing and economical point of view. A confirmation test was conducted using the optimal conditions with resulting tensile strength data being in good agreement with predicted results.
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