Molecular Dynamics Simulations of the Mechanical Properties of Cellulose Nanocrystals-Graphene Layered Nanocomposites

XL Zhang and ZY Chen and LY Lu and JK Wang, NANOMATERIALS, 12, 4170 (2022).

DOI: 10.3390/nano12234170

Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have received a significant amount of attention due to their excellent physiochemical properties. Herein, based on bioinspired layered materials with excellent mechanical properties, a CNCs-graphene layered structure with covalent linkages (C-C bond) is constructed. The mechanical properties are systematically studied by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in terms of the effects of temperature, strain rate and the covalent bond content. Compared to pristine CNCs, the mechanical performance of the CNCs-graphene layered structure has significantly improved. The elastic modulus of the layered structure decreases with the increase of temperature and increases with the increase of strain rate and covalent bond coverage. The results show that the covalent bonding and van der Waals force interactions at the interfaces play an important role in the interfacial adhesion and load transfer capacity of composite materials. These findings can be useful in further modeling of other graphene-based polymers at the atomic scale, which will be critical for their potential applications as functional materials.

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