• Asimina Manta

Student thesis: Phd


Graphene and its derivatives have drawn great attention as polymer reinforcement due to their exceptional mechanical, electrical and thermal properties and the progress in their manufacturing process. The research methods for studying graphene/polymer nanocomposites are limited in experimental trial and error techniques and complicated computational methods. The aim of this project is to study the graphene/polymer nanocomposite performance with the use of finite element analysis. Especially, multi-scale finite element models are developed for the simulation of the mechanical, electrical and thermal response of 0-20% graphene/polymer nanocomposites. The simulation results are validated by generic comparisons of the effective properties and full-field comparison of measured thermal diffusivity fields with the use of the CEN/CWA 16799 standards. Experiments on the mechanical and thermal response and material characterisation based on SEM and DSC techniques are also conducted on graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy prepared during this research work. The responses obtained are successfully simulated by the modelling tools developed. Finally, an application of graphene for laser-aided curing of graphene/polymer nanocomposites is modelled. The simulation results are found to be in accordance with the findings in literature, while an appropriate scheme is created for manufacturing parameters customisation. Graphene nanoparticles are found to enhance the electrical and thermal performance of polymers. By adding a small amount of graphene M25 (~8%) the polymer becomes electrically conductive. Similarly, by reinforcing the polymer with 5% of M25 GnP, the nanocomposite thermal conductivity is doubled, while the elastic modulus is increased by ~19%. The graphene/polymer nanocomposites would be a suitable choice for thermal management applications, creation of sensors and improving the through-the-thickness performance of fiber/polymer laminates. Finally, it is proven numerically that the addition of graphene nanoparticles could improve the polymerisation rate degree and enable the laser-aided curing.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorConstantinos Soutis (Supervisor) & Matthieu Gresil (Supervisor)

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