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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


The impact on the mechanical properties of an epoxy resin reinforced with pristine graphene nanoplatelets (GNP), highly concentrated graphene oxide (GO), and functionalized graphene oxide (FGO) has been investigated in this study. Molecular dynamics (MD) using a reactive force field (ReaxFF) has been employed in predicting the effective mechanical properties of the interphase region of the three nanocomposite materials at the nanoscale level. A systematic computational approach to simulate the reinforcing nanoplatelets and probe their influence on the mechanical properties of the epoxy matrix is established. The modeling results indicate a significant degradation of the in-plane elastic Young’s (decreased by ~89%) and shear (decreased by ~72.5%) moduli of the nanocomposite when introducing large amounts of oxygen and functional groups to the robust sp2 structure of the GNP. However, the wrinkled morphology of GO and FGO improves the nanoplatelet-matrix interlocking mechanism, which produces a significant improvement in the out-of-plane shear modulus (increased by 2 orders of magnitudes). The influence of the nanoplatelet content and aspect ratio on the mechanical response of the nanocomposites has also been determined in this study. Generally, the predicted mechanical response of the bulk nanocomposite materials demonstrates an improvement with increasing nanoplatelet content and aspect ratio. The results show good agreement with experimental data available from the literature.

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/). Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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