Stochastic analysis of the interphase effects on the mechanical properties of clay/epoxy nanocomposites
The polymeric clay nanocomposites are a new class of materials which recently have become the center of attention because of their superior mechanical and physical properties. Several studies have been performed on the mechanical characterization of these nanocomposites; however most of those studies have neglected the effect of the interphase and interfacial region between the clays and the matrix despite of its significance on the mechanical performance of the nanocomposites. Based on a hierarchical multiscale approach on the mesoscopic level, in this study we use the stochastic analysis and the computational homogenization method to analyse the effect of thickness and stiffness of the interphase region on the overall elastic properties of the clay/epoxy nanocomposites. The results show that considering interphase layer reduces the stiffness of clay/epoxy nanocomposites and this decrease becomes significant in higher clay contents. Then, the significance of the stiffness and thickness of the interphase layer on the elastic modulus of clay/epoxy nanocomposites are studied using a sensitivity analysis. Finally, the results of this study are validated with available experimental results.