Publication Abstract

Nanomechanical Modeling of Interfaces of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)/clay Nanocomposite

Paliwal, B., Lawrimore, W. B., Chandler, M. Q., & Horstemeyer, M. (2017). Nanomechanical Modeling of Interfaces of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)/clay Nanocomposite. Philosophical Magazine. Taylor & Francis. 97(15), 1179-1208. DOI:10.1080/14786435.2017.1293859.


We study interfacial debonding of several representative structures of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/pyrophillite-clay systems – both gallery-interface (polymer/clay interface in the interlayer region containing polymer between clay layers stacked parallel to each other) and matrix-interphase (polymer/clay interphase-region when individual clay layers are well separated and dispersed in the polymer matrix) – using molecular dynamics simulations, while explicitly accounting for shearing/sliding (i.e. Mode-II) deformation mode. Ten nanocomposite geometries (five 2-D periodic structures for tension and five 1-D periodic structures for shearing) were constructed to quantify the structure-property relations by varying the number density of polymer chains, length of polymer chains and model dimensions related to the interface deformation. The results were subsequently mapped into a cohesive traction–separation law, including evaluation of peak traction and work of separation that are used to characterise the interface load transfer for larger length scale micromechanical models. Results suggest that under a crack nucleation opening mode (i.e. Mode-I), the matrix-interphase exhibits noticeably greater strength and a greater work of separation compared to the gallery-interface; however, they were similar under the shearing/sliding mode of deformation. When compared to shearing/sliding, the tensile peak opening mode stresses were considerably greater but the displacement at the peak stress, the displacement at the final failure and the work of separation were considerably lower. Results also suggest that PVA/clay nanocomposites with higher degree of exfoliation compared with nanocomposites with higher clay-intercalation can potentially display higher strength under tension-dominated loading for a given clay volume fraction.