, Volume 217, Issue 1-2, pp 1-16
Date: 13 Aug 2010

Multiscale modeling of the nonlinear response of nano-reinforced polymers

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Abstract

The present study uses a nonlinear representative volume element (RVE) to investigate the effective mechanical properties of a nano-reinforced polymer system. Here, the RVE represents the reinforcing carbon nanotube (CNT), the surrounding polymer matrix, and the CNT–polymer interface. Due to the inherent nanoscale involved in simulating CNT structures, an atomistic description is incorporated via the atomistic-based continuum multiscale modeling technique. In this way, the continuum constitutive relations are derived solely from atomistic formulations. The nonlinear response of armchair and zigzag nanotubes and their nano-reinforced polymer equivalents are considered and presented. The results reveal that reinforcing polymeric matrices with 1 to 10 vol% CNTs can result in upward of approximately 23- and 8-fold increases in the tensile and shear stiffness, respectively. These results have a direct bearing on the design and development of nano-reinforced composites.