Mechanical properties and failure behaviour of graphene/silicene/graphene heterostructures

JY Chung and V Sorkin and QX Pei and CH Chiu and YW Zhang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D-APPLIED PHYSICS, 50, 345302 (2017).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/aa7938

Van der Waals heterostructures based on graphene and other 2D materials have attracted great attention recently. In this study, the mechanical properties and failure behaviour of a graphene/silicene/graphene heterostructure are investigated using molecular dynamics simulations. We find that by sandwiching silicene in-between two graphene layers, both ultimate tensile strength and Young's modulus of the heterostructure increase approximately by a factor of 10 compared with those of stand-alone silicene. By examining the fracture process of the heterostructure, we find that graphene and silicene exhibit quite different fracture behaviour. While graphene undergoes cleavage through its zigzag edge only, silicene can cleave through both its zigzag and armchair edges. In addition, we study the effects of temperature and strain rate on the mechanical properties of the heterostructure and find that an increase in temperature results in a decrease in its mechanical strength and stiffness, while an increase in strain rate leads to an increase in its mechanical strength without significant changes in its stiffness. We further explore the failure mechanism and show that the temperature and strain-rate dependent fracture stress can be accurately described by the kinetic theory of fracture. Our findings provide a deep insight into the mechanical properties and failure mechanism of graphene/silicene heterostructures.

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