Monday, 11 October 2004 - 2:15 PM

This presentation is part of : Torquato Symposium

Controlling and Modeling the Interphase in Polymeric Nanocomposites

Hua Liu, Thillaiyan Ramanathan, and Catherine L Brinson. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-3111

Polymeric nanocomposites made by incorporating small amount of nanoscale inclusions into polymer matrices exhibit dramatic changes in thermomechanical properties over the pure polymers. Because the properties of the nanoscale fillers can be extraordinary, even small volume fractions can result in significant changes. Enhancing the effect is the extremely significant role that the interphase plays in these systems. Given the enormous surface to volume ratio for nanoparticles, the interphase volume fraction can dwarf that of the inclusions themselves. In this paper, experimental evidences of the existence of this interphase region are presented. We show that by properly-controlled functionalization of the nanoscale inclusions, we can impact the properties of the interphase region and consequently control the properties of the nanocomposites.

In conjunction with the experimental results, the viscoelastic behavior of multi-phase polymeric nanocomposites is modeled using a novel hybrid numerical-analytical modeling method that can effectively take into account the existence of the interphase region. This hierarchical modeling approach couples the finite element technique and micromechanical approach and operates at low computational cost. Comparison between experimental and modeling results is reported.

Keywords: Polymeric nanocomposites; Interphase; Viscoelastic response; Modeling

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