Pillared graphene as excellent reinforcement for polymer-based nanocomposites

K Duan and YJ Li and L Li and YJ Hu and XL Wang, MATERIALS & DESIGN, 147, 11-18 (2018).

DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2018.03.033

Three-dimensional (3D) novel architectures consisting of graphene and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) possess a host of attractive properties with applications for numerous fields. In this study, we adopted molecular dynamics (MD) to investigate the capability of a kind of typical 3D carbon nanomaterial (termed as pillared graphene nanostructures (PGNs)) as reinforcement for polymer nanocomposites. The obtained results show that PGNs can significantly enhance the mechanical property of polyethylene (PE) matrix, yielding an increase about 62% in elastic modulus compared with neat PE. Moreover, the PGNs-reinforced PE nanocomposites exhibit excellent property characteristic in all studied three directions, which is quite different compared to the graphene or carbon nanotubes reinforced polymer nanocomposites (which only show improvement in the in-plane direction). Such substantial improvement originates from two aspects: 1) the synergetic effect between the graphene layers and vertically oriented CNTs that enables 3D enhancement; 2) the interlock effect between PE chains and PGNs which is arising from the unique structure of PGNs (graphene layers supported by vertical CNTs). Our results show that PGNs are really extraordinary fillers in reinforcing mechanical property of polymer-based nanocomposites. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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