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research-article

Modeling the Large Deformation and Microstructure Evolution of Non-woven Polymer Fiber Networks

[+] Author and Article Information
Mang Zhang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
Mang.zhang@stonybrook.edu

Yuli Chen

Institute of Solid Mechanics, Beihang University (BUAA), Beijing 100191, PR China
yulichen@buaa.edu.cn

Fu-pen Chiang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
fu-pen.chiang@stonybrook.edu

Pelagia Irene Gouma

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA
gouma.2@osu.edu

Lifeng Wang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
lifeng.wang@stonybrook.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041677 History: Received July 11, 2018; Revised October 01, 2018

Abstract

The electrospinning process enables the fabrication of randomly distributed non-woven polymer fiber networks with high surface area and high porosity, making them ideal candidates for multi-functional materials. The mechanics of non-woven networks have been well studied in elastic state. However, the mechanical properties of the polymer fibrous networks with large deformation are largely unexplored, while understanding their elastic and plastic mechanical properties at different fiber volume fractions, fiber aspect ratio, and constituent material properties are essential in the design of various polymer fibrous networks. In this paper, a representative volume element based finite element model with long fibers is developed to emulate the randomly distributed non-woven fibrous network microstructure, enabling us to systematically investigate the mechanics and large deformation behavior of random non-woven networks. The results show that the network volume fraction, the fiber aspect ratio, and the fiber curliness have significant influences on the effective stiffness, effective yield strength, and the post-yield behavior of the resulting fiber mats under both tension and shear loads. This study reveals the relation between the macroscopic mechanical behavior and the local randomly distributed network microstructure deformation mechanism of the non-woven fiber network. The model presented here is also applicable to capture the mechanical behavior of other complex non-woven network systems, like carbon nanotube networks, biological tissues, and artificial engineering networks.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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