Structural Behaviour of Graphene-Epoxy Coated Timber Members

Phan, Thuong (2019) Structural Behaviour of Graphene-Epoxy Coated Timber Members. [USQ Project]

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The use of innovative material such as graphene could potentially contribute to the strengthening of today’s infrastructures, and further extending the service life of the infrastructures. Graphene material properties far exceed any other material and have been proven to be an advanced and durable material in structural applications. Since the discovery of graphene, the approach of utilising graphene combined with polymer matrices has been increasingly popular in today’s civil industry. This has provided an opportunity for engineers to conduct analysis on the effectiveness of using graphene platelet (GPL)/polymer nanocomposites layer as a reinforcement method for timber materials.

The objective of this project was to analyse the structural behaviour of timber members reinforced with different ratios of graphene. Graphene was incorporated with polymer matrices to produce two ratio that would be used for testing. First ratio used for testing comprises of 0.25% graphene and 99.75% of epoxy, and the second comprises of 0.5% graphene and 99.5% epoxy. These ratios were applied to the timber members to conduct experimental testing, to obtain the materials modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rupture (MOR), which can describe the flexural modulus and strength of the timber material. It was assumed that the members reinforced with a higher graphene content should significantly increase the timber material resistance to bending, resulting in a reduction in deflection; furthermore, increasing the material yield strength, which also increases the stress level that the timber material can support without deforming.

Contradictory to the project assumptions, the experimental results concluded that the timber members reinforced with a low content of graphene (0.25% graphene) perform significantly better compared to members reinforced with a higher content of graphene (0.5% graphene). The members reinforced with 0.25% graphene can effectively resist deformation under the same loading condition, with a relatively low deflection compared to the members reinforced with a higher content of graphene.

To validate the experimental results, Strand7 finite element (FE)software was used. A parametric study was conducted to investigate the effective material properties of GPL/polymer nanocomposites layers based on 0.5 and 0.25 percentages of weight fraction using the Halpin-Tsai micromechanics model and rule of mixture. The numerical results show a logical agreement between the control samples and the Strand7 models. However, the reinforced models show large differences when compared to the Strand7 models. There are many possible reasons for this, which include modelling as an isotropic element and the indefinite material properties of the epoxy and graphene used for this research. Therefore, further work is needed to improve the accuracy of these results.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Karunasena, Karu; Lokuge, Weena
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil)
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2021 03:15
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 23:01

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