Tailoring nanocomposite interfaces with graphene to achieve high strength and toughness

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Science Advances  14 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 42, eaba7016
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba7016


The nanofiller reinforcing effect in nanocomposites is often far below the theoretically predicted values, largely because of the poor interfacial interaction between the nanofillers and matrix. Here, we report that graphene-wrapped B4C nanowires (B4C-NWs@graphene) empowered exceptional dispersion of nanowires in matrix and superlative nanowire-matrix bonding. The 0.2 volume % B4C-NWs@graphene reinforced epoxy composite exhibited simultaneous enhancements in strength (144.2 MPa), elastic modulus (3.5 GPa), and ductility (15%). Tailoring the composite interfaces with graphene enabled effective utilization of the nanofillers, resulting in two times increase in load transfer efficiency. Molecular dynamics simulations unlocked the shear mixing graphene/nanowire self-assembly mechanism. This low-cost yet effective technique presents unprecedented opportunities for improving nanocomposite interfaces, enabling high load transfer efficiency, and opens up a new path for developing strong and tough nanocomposites.

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