Atomistic Simulations of Length-Scale Effect of Bioinspired Brittle- Matrix Nanocomposite Models

S Mathiazhagan and S Anup, JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MECHANICS, 144, 04018104 (2018).

DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001533

Atomistic simulations are performed to investigate the effect of length scale on the mechanical properties and associated plasticity of bioinspired brittle-matrix nanocomposites. The regularly staggered arrangements of stiff platelets reinforced in compliant matrix which is inspired by the nanostructure of nacre and bone is considered in the study. Although extensive studies have been done to understand the effect of length scale on nanocrystalline materials, studies on the size effect in nanocomposites are very limited. The results of the atomistic simulations are compared with those of the metallic matrix nanocomposites available in the literature. It is found that the number of lattice unit cells in the transverse gap between the platelets and the properties of the interface play significant roles in determining the critical length scale. Moreover, the critical length scale may not significantly depend on the constituent materials properties. These findings could provide guidelines in the design of tough ceramic-matrix composites.

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