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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012, Article ID 483093, 5 pages
Research Article

A Simple Effective Flaw Model on Analyzing the Nanofiller Agglomeration Effect of Nanocomposite Materials

1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas, El Paso, TX 79968, USA

Received 16 October 2011; Revised 6 November 2011; Accepted 6 November 2011

Academic Editor: John Zhanhu Guo

Copyright © 2012 Arun Krishnan and L. Roy Xu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A special mechanics/material phenomenon involving nanocomposites is the agglomeration of nanofillers at high volume fractions of nanofillers. Numerous experimental investigations on nanocomposites have indicated a significant decrease in mechanical properties, due to the agglomeration of nanofillers. This paper describes a simple effective flaw model to correlate the local mechanical behavior of agglomerated nanoparticles with the change in global strengths of nanocomposites. The estimated bending strength reduction from our model is shown to be similar to experimental results reported by previous researchers. These results can be used as a guide for future nanocomposite design and development. Future nanomaterial manufacturing should be focused on eliminating the largest agglomerates, rather than limiting the nanofiller volume fraction. Meanwhile, by reducing the nanofiller agglomerate size, we expect that a high critical nanofiller volume fraction could be obtained to delay the mechanical property reduction.