Optimizing the reinforcement of polymer-based nanocomposites by graphene

Lei Gong, Robert J. Young, Ian A. Kinloch, Ibtsam Riaz, Rashid Jalil, Kostya S. Novoselov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The stress transfer between the internal layers of multilayer graphene within polymer-based nanocomposites has been investigated from the stress-induced shifts of the 2D Raman band. This has been undertaken through the study of the deformation of an ideal composite system where the graphene flakes were placed upon the surface of a polymer beam and then coated with an epoxy polymer. It is found that the rate of band shift per unit strain for a monolayer graphene flake is virtually independent of whether it has one or two polymer interfaces (i.e., with or without an epoxy top coating). In contrast, the rate of band shift is lower for an uncoated bilayer specimen than a coated one, indicating relatively poor stress transfer between the graphene layers. Mapping of the strain in the coated bilayer regions has shown that there is strain continuity between adjacent monolayer and bilayer regions, indicating that they give rise to similar levels of reinforcement. Strain-induced Raman band shifts have also been evaluated for separate flakes of graphene with different numbers of layers, and it is found that the band shift rate tends to decrease with an increase in the number of layers, indicating poor stress transfer between the inner graphene layers. This behavior has been modeled in terms of the efficiency of stress transfer between the inner graphene layers. Taking into account the packing geometry of polymer-based graphene nanocomposites and the need to accommodate the polymer coils, these findings enable the optimum number of graphene layers for the best reinforcement to be determined. It is demonstrated that, in general, multilayer graphene will give rise to higher levels of reinforcement than monolayer material, with the optimum number of layers depending upon the separation of the graphene flakes in the nanocomposite. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2086-2095
    Number of pages9
    JournalACS Nano
    Volume6
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2012

    Keywords

    • deformation
    • grapheme
    • micromechanics
    • nanocomposites
    • Raman spectroscopy

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