Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Y. Charles Lu


Graphene, a monolayer of sp2-hybridized carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional (2D) lattice, is one of the most important 2D nanomaterials and has attracted tremendous attentions due to its unique geometric characteristics and exceptional mechanical properties. One of the most promising applications of this 2D nanomaterial is in polymer nanocomposites, in which the ultra-stiff, ultra-thin graphene layers function as reinforcement fillers. However, two significant questions remain to be answered: (1) whether the mechanical behaviors of 2D graphene reinforced nanocomposites can be analyzed by the convention composite theory, which is developed primarily for one-dimensional (1D) fiber-type of fillers, and (2) what are the effects of the “interlayers” in those 2D, ultra-thin, layered fillers on mechanical properties of the nanocomposites. Composites with both aligned and random-distributed graphene are analyzed using Tandon-Weng and Halpin-Tsai models. For composites reinforced with multi-layered graphene, the presence of soft “interlayers” needs to be considered. These layered graphene are treated as the “effective” reinforcement fillers and the moduli of such structures can be predicted by the Arridge model. Finally, the efficiency of reinforcement by 2D, layered graphene in polymer matrix is examined by using the finite element method. The accuracy of the finite element method is verified with the conventional Shear-Lag theory on a monolayer graphene. The distributions of interfacial shear strain are computed for composites reinforced with various layered graphene.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)