Theses and Dissertations


Jaesang Yu

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Lacy, E. Thomas

Committee Member

Pittman, U. Charles

Committee Member

Toghiani, Hossein

Committee Member

Schneider, A. Judith

Committee Member

Sullivan, W. Rani

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Aerospace Engineering


The Effective Continuum Micromechanics Analysis Code (EC-MAC) was developed for predicting effective properties of composites containing multiple distinct nanoheterogeneities (fibers, spheres, platelets, voids, etc.) each with an arbitrary number of coating layers based upon either the modified Mori-Tanaka method (MTM) and self consistent method (SCM). This code was used to investigate the effect of carbon nanofiber morphology (i.e., hollow versus solid cross-section), nanofiber waviness, and both nanofiber-resin interphase properties and dimensions on bulk nanocomposite elastic moduli. For a given nanofiber axial force-displacement relationship, the elastic modulus for hollow nanofibers can significantly exceed that for solid nanofibers resulting in notable differences in bulk nanocomposite properties. The development of a nanofiber-resin interphase had a notable effect on the bulk elastic moduli. Consistent with results from the literature, small degrees of nanofiber waviness resulted in a significant decrease in effective composite properties. Key aspects of nanofiber morphology were characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images for VGCNF/vinyl ester (VE) nanocomposites. Three-parameter Weibull probability density functions were generated to describe the statistical variation in nanofiber outer diameters, wall thicknesses, relative wall thicknesses, visible aspect ratios, and visible waviness ratios. Such information could be used to establish more realistic nanofiber moduli and strengths obtained from nanofiber tensile tests, as well as to develop physically motivated computational models for predicting nanocomposite behavior. This study represents one of the first attempts to characterize the distribution of VGCNF features in real thermoset nanocomposites. In addition, the influence of realistic nanoreinforcement geometries, distinct elastic properties, and orientations on the effective elastic moduli was addressed. The effect of multiple distinct heterogeneities, including voids, on the effective elastic moduli was investigated. For the composites containing randomly oriented wavy vapor grown carbon nanofibers (VGCNFs) and voids, the predicted moduli captured the essential character of the experimental data, where the volume fraction of voids was approximated as a nonlinear function of the volume fraction of reinforcements. This study should facilitate the development of multiscale materials design by providing insight into the relationships between nanomaterial morphology and properties across multiple spatial scales that lead to improved macroscale performance.



polymer nanocomposites||multiscale modeling||micromechanics