Determination and modeling of mechanical properties for graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy composites

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Structural components of modern aircraft, such as the fuselage and control surfaces, are commonly constructed using carbon‐filled polymer composites. The addition of graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) to traditional fiber‐reinforced composites often increases the tensile modulus. In this work, composites were fabricated with epoxy (EPON 862 with EPIKURE Curing Agent W) and 1–4 wt% (0.6–2.44 vol%) GNP. The GNP used in this study was Asbury Carbon's TC307. To the authors' knowledge, mechanical data for composites with TC307 have not been published before. Composite specimens were tested for macroscopic tensile modulus and modulus as determined by nanoindentation. The macroscopic tensile modulus increased from 2.72 GPa for neat epoxy to 2.93 GPa for 4 wt% (2.44 vol%) TC307 in epoxy. The modulus as determined by nanoindentation showed a similar trend. For all these composites, the tensile strength ranged from 76 to 81 MPa. A multiscale modeling approach, using molecular dynamics data and micromechanical modeling, was used to verify the experimental data, and both experiments and modeling demonstrated that a three‐dimensional random dispersion of GNP (∼3 to 4 layers) in epoxy was achieved. The constant level of strength with GNP loading is important in applications where GNP is added to the epoxy matrix to increase thermal and electrical conductivity.

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© 2016 Society of Plastics Engineers. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1002/pc.24137

Publication Title

Polymer Composites