Mechanical Properties and Deformation Mechanisms of Graphene Foams with Bi-Modal Sheet Thickness by Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations

SG Liu and MD Lyu and C Wang, MATERIALS, 14, 5622 (2021).

DOI: 10.3390/ma14195622

Graphene foams (GrFs) have been widely used as structural and/or functional materials in many practical applications. They are always assembled by thin and thick graphene sheets with multiple thicknesses; however, the effect of this basic structural feature has been poorly understood by existing theoretical models. Here, we propose a coarse- grained bi-modal GrF model composed of a mixture of 1-layer flexible and 8-layer stiff sheets to study the mechanical properties and deformation mechanisms based on the mesoscopic model of graphene sheets (Model. Simul. Mater. Sci. Eng. 2011, 19, 54003). It is found that the modulus increases almost linearly with an increased proportion of 8-layer sheets, which is well explained by the mixture rule; the strength decreases first and reaches the minimum value at a critical proportion of stiff sheets ~30%, which is well explained by the analysis of structural connectivity and deformation energy of bi-modal GrFs. Furthermore, high-stress regions are mainly dispersed in thick sheets, while large-strain areas mainly locate in thin ones. Both of them have a highly uneven distribution in GrFs due to the intrinsic heterogeneity in both structures and the mechanical properties of sheets. Moreover, the elastic recovery ability of GrFs can be enhanced by adding more thick sheets. These results should be helpful for us to understand and further guide the design of advanced GrF-based materials.

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