Atomistic simulation of interfacial properties and damage mechanism in graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy composites

AA Sahraei and AH Mokarizadeh and M Foroutan and D George and D Rodrigue and M Baniassadi, COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS SCIENCE, 184, 109888 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.commatsci.2020.109888

This study provides a comprehensive investigation on the effect of epoxy crosslinking density and number of graphene layers on the interfacial mechanical behavior of graphene/epoxy nanocomposites. In particular, the graphene layers are detached in the normal and sliding directions within the framework of steered molecular dynamics, and the traction-separation curves are extracted for the whole separation process. The damage mechanism is also studied by analyzing the evolution of the local number density during pull-out tests. For better results interpretation, the variation of the interaction and adhesion energies, the number of pulled-out epoxy chains, and the distribution of crosslinked and uncrosslinked species are also investigated and discussed. Based on the results obtained, the crosslinking density has a significant effect on the interfacial properties between graphene and epoxy, especially in the normal mode. The damage behavior is also determined as the function of the epoxy crosslinking density so that at low crosslinking densities, the damage occurs in the polymer near the graphene, while the failure takes place in the interphase for higher crosslinking degrees. Increasing the number of graphene layers leads to a weaker interfacial strength, except for the double-layered graphene systems which have the highest traction peak among all samples.

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