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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 5017213, 13 pages
Research Article

Mechanical Properties of Boehmite Evaluated by Atomic Force Microscopy Experiments and Molecular Dynamic Finite Element Simulations

1Institute of Structural Analysis, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Appelstraße 9A, 30167 Hannover, Germany
2Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, Germany

Received 14 July 2016; Revised 6 October 2016; Accepted 16 October 2016

Academic Editor: Victor M. Castaño

Copyright © 2016 J. Fankhänel et al. 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.


Boehmite nanoparticles show great potential in improving mechanical properties of fiber reinforced polymers. In order to predict the properties of nanocomposites, knowledge about the material parameters of the constituent phases, including the boehmite particles, is crucial. In this study, the mechanical behavior of boehmite is investigated using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) experiments and Molecular Dynamic Finite Element Method (MDFEM) simulations. Young’s modulus of the perfect crystalline boehmite nanoparticles is derived from numerical AFM simulations. Results of AFM experiments on boehmite nanoparticles deviate significantly. Possible causes are identified by experiments on complementary types of boehmite, that is, geological and hydrothermally synthesized samples, and further simulations of imperfect crystals and combined boehmite/epoxy models. Under certain circumstances, the mechanical behavior of boehmite was found to be dominated by inelastic effects that are discussed in detail in the present work. The studies are substantiated with accompanying X-ray diffraction and Raman experiments.