Micromechanics of engineered interphases in nacre-like composite structures

Budarapu, P.R., Thakur, S., Kumar, S. and Paggi, M. (2020) Micromechanics of engineered interphases in nacre-like composite structures. Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures, (doi: 10.1080/15376494.2020.1733714) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Although the composition of polymer matrix is only ≈5% by weight, the presence of polymer as an interlayer between the brittle aragonite bricks significantly enhances the toughness characteristics of the natural nacre. In this study, the mechanics of nacre-like brick-mortar structures is investigated through numerical simulations. The shear stress distribution in the matrix of nacreous composites is found to be non-homogeneous primarily due to: (i) elastic properties mismatch between brick and mortar and (ii) the periodic microstructure. This non-homogeneous stress distribution is successfully reduced by grading the elastic modulus of the matrix material so as to considerably enhance the performance of the nacreous composite. A framework has been developed here to design nacre-inspired composites incorporating a functionally modulus graded interphase material. The different parameters influencing the non-uniform stress distribution, such as: interphase thickness, elastic modulus and overlap length are studied, elucidating how such parameters can be effectively controlled to reduce the non-homogeneous stress distribution and reduce the peak stresses. The peak stresses in the interphase are observed to exponentially increase up to 100%, when overlap length is 10% of the brick length. The strength and peak stresses in the interphase are observed to be higher for thin interphases, where a 50% decrease in thickness resulted in a 40% increase in the peak shear stress, and an 80% reduction yielded 150% increase. On the other hand, the elastic modulus is observed to scale with the strength, for instance, when the modulus is increased by 20% and 50%, the increase in peak shear stresses in the interphase are observed to be 10% and 22%, respectively. Furthermore, the shear stresses in the interphase are made uniform by varying the parameters such as: interphase thickness, elastic modulus and overlap length. The developed methodology has been extended to design a nacre-like structure based on the material combination used in metal matrix composites, where the shear strength of the proposed nacre-like composite structure is found to be 32% higher than the natural nacre. The results provide a guideline for the design of nacreous composites.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Mechanical Engineering, General Materials Science, Mechanics of Materials, General Mathematics, Civil and Structural Engineering.
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kumar, Dr Shan
Authors: Budarapu, P.R., Thakur, S., Kumar, S., and Paggi, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures
Publisher:Informa UK Limited
ISSN:1537-6532
ISSN (Online):1537-6532
Published Online:14 March 2020

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