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Reactive Molecular Modelling of Multi-Functional Hybrid Graphene/CNT Nanocomposites (REAMOFUN)
Start date: Oct 15, 2013, End date: Oct 14, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"A key research area for composite materials is the addition of nanoscale constituents to provide multi-functionality, i.e. materials capable of meeting multiple demands, such as structural, electrical, thermal, and energy storage. Such materials are termed “multifunctional nanocomposites”. Over the past decade, much research has been performed on carbon nanotube (CNT)-based nanocomposites, and it has been demonstrated that CNTs can enhance the mechanical properties of composites, as well as form conductive networks. More recently, research on graphene-nanoplatelet (GNP) nanocomposites has been undertaken and indications are that GNPs are superior to CNTs for transferring mechanical load. Inspired by the capability of CNTs to form conductive networks and graphene to transfer load, this project will examine hybrid CNT/GNP-reinforced thermoset matrix nanocomposites by large-scale Molecular Dynamics simulations. The objective of this interdisciplinary project is to understand the synergistic mechanisms of GNPs and CNTs in improving mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of hybrid nanocomposites, as demonstrated by a few experiments to date, and to investigate how to design nanocomposites to get optimal performance. In the process, modelling of the in-situ polymerisation of hybrid nanocomposites will be carried out for the first time, and mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of resulting nanocomposites will be predicted. The applicant has published extensively on multi-functional composites and modelling of in-situ polymerisation of polymers, while the Host has 20 years’ experience in composites research in Europe, and is seeking to expand an existing highly-fruitful collaboration with EPFL, Switzerland, in this area. The EU composite community will benefit from the applicant’s unique knowledge and expertise, and the development of an extensible simulation tool for predictive modelling and optimisation of multifunctional thermoset nanocomposites."

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