On the experimental and numerical investigation of clay/epoxy nanocomposites
Due to increasing use of clay/epoxy nanocomposites in industry, investigation of mechanical properties of clay nanocomposites has become of great interest. While the stiffening mechanism of clay nanocomposites is well documented, there is still not a clear understanding about how addition of clays affect the fracture behavior of clay/epoxy nanocomposites. The main aim of this paper is to measure and explain the effect of clays on ductility reduction of these nanocomposites. First, epoxy and clay/epoxy nanocomposites with different clay weight ratio were built. Then, the damage parameters of epoxy and clay/epoxy nanocomposites were measured by variation of the elasticity modulus. Based on loading–unloading experiments, the Lemaitre damage parameters for epoxy and clay/epoxy nanocomposites were extracted. Crack initiation and propagation in dog-bone sample were simulated for epoxy and clay/epoxy nanocomposites using the eXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM). The comparison between experimental and numerical results shows that the proposed method can predict the crack initiation location and propagation path in clay/epoxy nanocomposites.