A facile but efficient spray-coating method was recently developed to manufacture thin, flexible, and transparent epoxy films reinforced with well-exfoliated and highly-aligned α-zirconium phosphate (ZrP) nanoplatelets in smectic liquid crystalline order. Here, we investigate the scratch resistance of ZrP/epoxy nanocomposites prepared following the same spray-coating process. Comparison was made with neat epoxy coating to determine the impact of ZrP nanofillers. Tests were conducted with accordance to ASTM D7027/ISO 19252 scratch standard and scratch mechanisms were studied using different experimental tools. Results show that scratch resistance is considerably improved after introducing ZrP nanofillers to the epoxy coating. This was reflected by the delay in microcracking and plowing damages and the decrease of scratch coefficient of friction. This result is attributed to the significant role of exfoliated and aligned ZrP nanofillers in enhancing the mechanical properties of the epoxy matrix. The usefulness of the current study in developing new coating systems for high-performance applications is discussed.

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Volume 112, 10 March 2017, Pages 252–263