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ACS Nano. 2018 Nov 27;12(11):11236-11243. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.8b05835. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

Artificial Bicontinuous Laminate Synergistically Reinforces and Toughens Dilute Graphene Composites.

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MOE Key Laboratory of Macromolecular Synthesis and Functionalization, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Key Laboratory of Adsorption and Separation Materials & Technologies of Zhejiang Province , Zhejiang University , 38 Zheda Road , Hangzhou 310027 , P. R. China.
State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, School of Aerospace , Xi'an Jiaotong University , Xi'an 710049 , China.
National Key Laboratory of Science and Technology on Advanced Composites in Special Environments , Harbin Institute of Technology , Harbin 150080 , P. R. China.


Strength and toughness are usually exclusive in polymer nanocomposites with dispersed nanofillers. This intrinsic conflict has been relieved in a high filler loading range by mimicking the nacre structure of natural selection. However, at the low loading extreme, it still remains a great challenge. Here, we design a bicontinuous lamellar (BCL) structure to synergistically reinforce and toughen nanocomposites in the dilute range of nanofiller below 1 wt %. At a typical loading of 0.3 wt %, the BCL composite of graphene oxide (GO) and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) has an 8200% toughness and a comparably reinforced hardness of the dispersed counterpart, accompanying a 53-fold higher failure elongation that even exceeds that of pure PVA. Theoretical modeling and experimental analyses reveal that the continuous generation of massive crazes of GO layers endows the BCL composite with high toughness and surprising breakage elongation beyond those of pure PVA. The BCL organization is an alternatively optimal structure model to merge the exclusive strength and toughness together for damage-tolerant nanocomposites with a dilute range of nanofillers, other than nacre-like and well-dispersed structure, providing an alternative methodology to fabricate mechanically robust composites.


bicontinuous lamellar structure; crazing dissipation; dilute loading; nanocomposites; synergistical reinforcement and toughening


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