Mechanical and physical characterization of graphene composites

Novel, David (2019) Mechanical and physical characterization of graphene composites. PhD thesis, University of Trento, Foundation Bruno Kessler.

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Abstract

During my PhD activities, I studied the introduction of carbon-based nanofillers in materials at different scales, while focusing primarily on fibres and fibrillar materials. Several production techniques were exploited. Little is known about the interaction of graphene with electrospun polymeric fibres. Manufacturing composite fibres is complex since fillers have lateral sizes nearing that of the embedding fibre. Indeed, graphene has a direct effect in both the assembly of the electrospun composite fibres and their mechanical performance. Moreover, the tensile behaviour of hollow micrometric electrospun fibres was compared with macroscopic hollow structures such as drinking straws. The acquired insights helped to explain the toughening mechanisms at the micro-scale and develop a model capable of predicting the stress-strain response of such structures. Among natural materials, wood has the most relevant structural applications even at large scales. Its main structural component is cellulose that has a high resistance and a low light absorption. Several structural modifications of wood derived materials were recently investigated in order to enhance the mechanical and optical properties of cellulose. These enhancements can take place after the internal structure is chemically modified with the removal of lignin and after a structural densification. Potentially, any type of wood-like materials, such as giant reed (that is a fast-growing and invasive species), can be turned into a strong structural composite. Such modifications lead to an open and interconnected internal structure that is the ideal scaffold for nanoparticle intercalation. Graphene oxide and silicon carbide nanoparticles were intercalated into densified reed. They produced an even stiffer, stronger and tougher composite compared to the best up-to-date process available. Moreover, its capabilities to resist fire and water-absorption were tested. Finally, the previous process was further developed on wood to achieve a combination of improved transparency and electrical conductivity. Graphene and carbon nanotubes were introduced into the structure of wood to foster conductivity and explore the viability of its application as a self-strain sensor.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
PhD Cycle:31
Subjects:Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura > ICAR/08 SCIENZA DELLE COSTRUZIONI
Repository Staff approval on:26 Sep 2019 09:27

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