Graphene nanosheets and thicker graphite nanoplatelets are being used as reinforcement in polymeric materials to improve the material properties or induce new functional properties. By improving dispersion, de-agglomerating the particles, and ensuring the desired orientation of the nano-structures in the matrix, the microstructure can be tailored to obtain specific material properties. A novel surface image assisted modeling framework is proposed to understand functional properties of the graphene enhanced polymer. The effective thermal and mechanical responses are assessed based on computational homogenization. For the mechanical response, the 2-D nanoplatelets are modeled as internal interfaces that store energy for membrane actions. The effective thermal response is obtained similarly, where 2-D nanoplatelets are represented using regions of high conductivity. Using the homogenization simulation, macroscopic stiffness properties and thermal conductivity properties are modeled and then compared to the experimental data. The proposed surface image assisted modeling yields reasonable effective mechanical and thermal properties, where the Kapitza effect plays an important part in effective thermal properties.
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