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Technical Briefs

Hierarchical Structure and Properties of Graphene Oxide Papers

[+] Author and Article Information
Charles D. Wood, Karl W. Putz

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Northwestern University,
2145 Sheridan Road,
Evanston, IL 60208

Marc J. Palmeri

Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Northwestern University,
2220 Campus Drive,
Evanston, IL 60208

SonBinh T. Nguyen

Chemistry Department,
Northwestern University,
2145 Sheridan Road,
Evanston, IL 60208

L. Catherine Brinson

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Northwestern University,
2220 Campus Drive,
Evanston, IL 60208
e-mail: cbrinson@northwestern.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received January 18, 2013; final manuscript received March 22, 2013; accepted manuscript posted April 10, 2013; published online May 31, 2013. Editor: Yonggang Huang.

J. Appl. Mech 80(4), 040913 (May 31, 2013) (6 pages) Paper No: JAM-13-1033; doi: 10.1115/1.4024177 History: Received January 18, 2013; Revised March 22, 2013; Accepted April 10, 2013

The mechanical properties of graphene oxide papers have attracted significant attention in recent years due to their high stiffness and tough behavior. While the structural feature most commonly characterized is the nanosheet spacing, there is a hierarchical structure, which is likely responsible for the impressive mechanical properties. In this paper, we examine the structure of graphene oxide papers on several length scales using novel techniques to distinguish between lamellae and a newly defined feature, termed “super-lamellae.” The differentiation between these intermediate features provides context to the previously observed mechanical response and fracture surfaces of graphene oxide papers, particularly under uniaxial tension.

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Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Graphene
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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Lypohilized, or freeze-dried, graphene oxide papers exhibit a swelled latticelike structure in the presence of water. The swelled state shows exaggerated interlamellar spacings and some basic indication of hierarchical structure.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a useful tool for resolving the average graphene oxide nanosheet spacings in paper form. The peak displayed can shift depending upon humidity conditions and/or additions of polymers as the sheet spacings are swelled.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Two different methods were used to determine the average thickness of lamellae in the paper form. Striations observed in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) (a) were compared to partially exfoliated papers (b). The results were compared (c) using a student t-test to determine a lamellae thickness value, around 70 nm.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Stress-strain behavior under uniaxial tension shows high Young's moduli as well as ductilelike failure, observed as high strain and stress values at failure. Compared to a wide range of materials [21,22], graphene oxide papers exhibit an impressive combination of stiffness and strength.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

The hierarchical structure of graphene oxide papers reaches from the nanometer length scale of individual nanosheets to the micrometer thickness of free-standing papers and can be observed or measured through a variety of methods, displayed on the left-hand side. In intermediate length scales nanosheet self-assemble into lamellae and superlamellae forming a robust and rather complex network.

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