Thermal conductivity of graphene nanoplatelet/cycloaliphatic epoxy composites: Multiscale modeling

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Department of Chemical Engineering; Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Composite materials using cycloaliphatic epoxy (CE) resins are used in some structural applications that require resistance to aggressive environments. Specifically, CE-based composites are used for structural reinforcement in aluminum conductor composite core (ACCC) high-voltage power lines. However, CE resins have a relatively low thermal conductivity, which makes it difficult to dissipate localized heating due to transmission line faults. Graphene nanoplatelet(GNP) reinforcement can potentially improve the thermal conductivity of CE composites (∼0.2 W/m-K) due to its superior in-plane thermal conductivity (∼5300 W/m-K). In this study, the thermal conductivities of GNP/CE composites are investigated by multiscale modeling using molecular dynamics (MD) and micromechanics simulation techniques. Different levels of GNP dispersion and aspect ratio are studied and compared to experimental data established herein and in the literature. The thermal conductivity of GNP/CE composites increases with increased GNP content, dispersion, and aspect ratio. Additionally, covalently functionalized GNP/CE systems are simulated to determine the effect of functionalization on thermal conductivity. The transverse thermal conductivity of GNP/CF/CE hybrid composites is further investigated and validated with experimental values. This study establishes a unique multiscale modeling approach for predicting thermal conductivity of polymer nanocomposite materials (and hybrid composite materials) based on molecular structure of the nano-reinforcement/polymer interface.

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2018.09.024

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