Date of Award

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor

Gregory M Odegard

Abstract

Materials are inherently multi-scale in nature consisting of distinct characteristics at various length scales from atoms to bulk material. There are no widely accepted predictive multi-scale modeling techniques that span from atomic level to bulk relating the effects of the structure at the nanometer (10-9 meter) on macro-scale properties. Traditional engineering deals with treating matter as continuous with no internal structure. In contrast to engineers, physicists have dealt with matter in its discrete structure at small length scales to understand fundamental behavior of materials. Multiscale modeling is of great scientific and technical importance as it can aid in designing novel materials that will enable us to tailor properties specific to an application like multi-functional materials.

Polymer nanocomposite materials have the potential to provide significant increases in mechanical properties relative to current polymers used for structural applications. The nanoscale reinforcements have the potential to increase the effective interface between the reinforcement and the matrix by orders of magnitude for a given reinforcement volume fraction as relative to traditional micro- or macro-scale reinforcements. To facilitate the development of polymer nanocomposite materials, constitutive relationships must be established that predict the bulk mechanical properties of the materials as a function of the molecular structure. A computational hierarchical multiscale modeling technique is developed to study the bulk-level constitutive behavior of polymeric materials as a function of its molecular chemistry. Various parameters and modeling techniques from computational chemistry to continuum mechanics are utilized for the current modeling method. The cause and effect relationship of the parameters are studied to establish an efficient modeling framework. The proposed methodology is applied to three different polymers and validated using experimental data available in literature.

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