Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

M. S.

Organizational Unit

Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, Mechanical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Maciej Kumosa

Second Advisor

Sandra S. Eaton

Third Advisor

Joe Hoffman

Fourth Advisor

Paul Predecki


Graphene composites, Molecular dynamics, Polymer composites


Due to its unique physical properties, graphene has shown great promise as an additive to Polymer Matrix Composites (PMCs) for material property enhancement. Achieving homogeneous dispersion of the graphene platelets within a polymeric network is critical to realizing these enhancements. Research has shown that achieving homogeneous dispersion of graphene platelets within PMCs is challenging as graphene is immiscible with most polymeric networks. This work used Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations to demonstrate dispersion of graphene platelets within PMCs is inhibited by molecular surface charge potentials. Further simulations were conducted to demonstrate functionalized forms of graphene, specifically graphene oxide, have altered surface charge potentials which render them miscible within PMCs. To quantify the effect of platelet dispersion, a method of estimating Young’s modulus by micro-mechanical approximations was examined. Functionalized forms of graphene are preferable for use as reinforcement in PMCs, both in terms of generating a consistent homogenous material and in the feasibility of large-scale manufacturing of the material.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Matthew Alan Reil


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

86 p.


Materials Science, Nanotechnology