Modeling of graphene-polymer interfacial mechanical behavior using molecular dynamics

AP Awasthi and DC Lagoudas and DC Hammerand, MODELLING AND SIMULATION IN MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 17, 015002 (2009).

DOI: 10.1088/0965-0393/17/1/015002

Carbon nanotube (CNT) polymer-matrix composites exhibit promising properties as structural materials for which appropriate constitutive models are sought, to predict their macroscale behavior. The reliability of determining the homogenized response of such materials depends upon the ability to accurately capture the interfacial behavior between the nanotubes and the polymer matrix. In this work, molecular dynamics simulations, using the Consistent Valence Force Field (CVFF) to describe the atomistic interactions, are used to study nanoscale load transfer between polyethylene and a graphene sheet, a model system chosen to characterize the force-separation behavior between CNTs and the polymer matrix. Separation studies are conducted for both opening as well as sliding modes and cohesive zone parameters such as peak traction and energy of separation are evaluated for each mode. Studies are also carried out to investigate the effect of tension and compression on sliding mode separation. Size dependence studies are conducted utilizing different sizes of the computational domain and different boundary conditions, to obtain the representative volume element and connect to continuum level properties. These results set the stage for continuum length-scale micromechanical models which may be used in determining the overall material response, incorporating interfacial phenomena.

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