The present research is focused on the manufacturing and analysis of composites consisting of a thermosetting polymer reinforced with fillers of nanometric dimensions. The materials were chosen to be an epoxy resin matrix and two different kinds of fillers: electrically conductive carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and ceramic titanium dioxide (TiO2) and aluminium dioxide (Al2O3) nanoparticles. In an initial step of the work, in order to understand the effect that each kind of filler had when added separately to the polymer matrix, CNF–EP and ceramic nanoparticle–EP composites were manufactured and tested. Each type of filler was dispersed in the polymer matrix using two different dispersion technologies. CNFs were dispersed in the resin with the aid of a three roll calender (TRC) whereas a torus bead mill (TML) was used in the ceramic nanoparticle case. Calendering proved to be an efficient method to disperse the untreated CNFs in the polymer matrix. The study of the physical properties of undispersed CNF composites showed that the tensile strength and the maximum sustained strain, were more sensitive to the state of dispersion of the nanofibers than the elastic modulus, fracture toughness, impact energy and electrical conductivity (for filler loadings above the percolation threshold of the system). Rheological investigation of the uncured CNF–epoxy mixture at different stages of dispersion indicated the formation of an interconnected nanofiber network within the matrix after the initial steps of calendering. CNF–EP composites showed better mechanical performance than the unmodified polymer matrix. However, the tensile modulus and strength of the CNF composites accused the presence of remaining nanofiber clusters and did not reach theoretically predicted values. Fracture toughness and resistance against impact did not seem to be so sensitive to the state of nanofiber dispersion and improved consistently with the incorporation of the CNFs. The electrical conductivity of the CNF composites saw an eight orders of magnitude percolative enhancement with increasing nanofiber content. The percolation threshold for the achieved level of CNF dispersion was found to be 0.14 vol. %. It was also determined that, for these composites, the main mechanism of electrical transmission was the electron tunnelling mechanism. Ceramic nanoparticle–EP composites were manufactured using TiO2 and Al2O3 particles as fillers in the epoxy matrix. Mechanical dispersion of the nanoparticles in the liquid polymer by means of a torus bead mill dissolver led to homogeneous distributions of particles in the matrix. Remaining particle agglomerates had a mean value of 80 nm. However, micrometer sized agglomerates could clearly be observed in the microscopical analysis of the composites, especially in the TiO2 case. The inclusion of the nanoparticles in the epoxy resin resulted in a general improvement of the modulus, strength, maximum sustained strain, fracture toughness and impact energy of the polymer matrix. Nanoparticles were able to overcome the stiffness/toughness problem. On the other hand, nanoparticle–EP composites showed lower electrical conductivity than the neat epoxy. In general, there were no significant differences between the incorporation of TiO2 or Al2O3 particles. Based on the previous results, CNFs and nanoparticles were combined as fillers to create a nanocomposite that could benefit from the electrical properties provided by the conductive CNFs and, at the same time, have improved mechanical performance thanks to the presence of the well dispersed ceramic nanoparticles. Nanoparticles and CNFs were dispersed separately to create two batches which were blended together in a dissolver mixer. This method proved effective to create well dispersed CNF–nanoparticle–epoxy composites which showed improved electrical and mechanical properties compared with the neat polymer matrix. The well dispersed ceramic nanofillers were able to introduce additional energy dissipating mechanisms in the CNF–EP composites that resulted in an improvement of their mechanical performance. With high volume loadings of nanoparticles most of the reinforcement came from the presence of the nanoparticles in the polymer matrix. Therefore, the observed trends were, in essence, similar to the ones observed in the ceramic nanoparticle–EP composites. The enhancement in the mechanical performance of the CNF composites with the inclusion of ceramic nanoparticles came at the price of an increase in the percolation threshold and a reduction of the electrical conductivity of the CNF–nanoparticle–EP composites compared with the CNF–EP materials. A modified Weber and Kamal’s fiber contact model (FCM) was used to explain the electrical behaviour of the CNF–nanoparticle–EP composites once percolation was achieved. This model was able to fit rather accurately the experimentally measured conductivity of these composites.
The aim of this thesis was to link Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Population Balance Modelling (PBM) to gain a combined model for the prediction of counter-current liquid-liquid extraction columns. Parts of the doctoral thesis project were done in close cooperation with the Fraunhofer ITWM. Their in-house CFD code Finite Pointset Method (FPM) was further developed for two-phase simulations and used for the CFD-PBM coupling. The coupling and all simulations were also carried out in the commercial CFD code Fluent in parallel. For the solution methods of the PBM there was a close cooperation with Prof. Attarakih from the Al-Balqa Applied University in Amman, Jordan, who developed a new adaptive method, the Sectional Quadrature Method of Moments (SQMOM). At the beginning of the project, there was a lack of two-phase liquid-liquid CFD simulations and their experimental validation in literature. Therefore, stand-alone CFD simulations without PBM were carried out both in FPM and Fluent to test the predictivity of CFD for stirred liquid-liquid extraction columns. The simulations were validated by Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements. The two-phase PIV measurements were possible when using an iso-optical system, where the refractive indices of both liquid phases are identical. These investigations were done in segments of two Rotating Disc Contactors with 150mm and 450mm diameter to validate CFD at lab and at industrial scale. CFD results of the aqueous phase velocities, hold-up, droplet raising velocities and turbulent energy dissipation were compared to experimental data. The results show that CFD can predict most phenomena and there was an overall good agreement. In the next steps, different solution methods for the PBM, e.g. the SQMOM and the Quadrature Method of Moments (QMOM) were implemented, varied and tested in Fluent and FPM in a two-fluid model. In addition, different closures for coalescence and breakage were implemented to predict drop size distributions and Sauter mean diameters in the RDC DN150 column. These results show that a prediction of the droplet size distribution is possible, even when no adjustable parameters are used. A combined multi-fluid CFD-PBM model was developed by means of the SQMOM to overcome drawbacks of the two-fluid approach. Benefits of the multi-fluid approach could be shown, but the high computational load was also visible. Therefore, finally, the One Primary One Secondary Particle Method (OPOSPM), which is a very easy and efficient special case of the SQMOM, was introduced in CFD to simulate a full pilot plant column of the RDC DN150. The OPOSPM offers the possibility of a one equation model for the solution of the PBM in CFD. The predicted results for the mean droplet diameter and the dispersed phase hold up agree well with literature data. The results also show that the new CFD-PBM model is very efficient from computational point of view (two times less than the QMOM and five times less than the method of classes). The overall results give rise to the expectation that the coupled CFD-PBM model will lead to a better, faster and more cost-efficient layout of counter-current extraction columns in future.
The topic of this work is the continuum mechanic modelling of point defects in piezoelectric materials. Devices containing piezoelectric material and especially ferroelectrics require a high precision and are exposed to a high number of electrical and mechanical load cycles. As a result, the relevant material properties may decrease with increasing load cycles. This phenomenon is called electric fatigue. The transported ionic and electric charge carriers can interact with each other, as well as with structural elements (grain boundaries, inhomogeneities) or with material interfaces (domain walls). A reduced domain wall mobility also reduces the electromechanical coupling effect, which leads to the electric fatigue effect. The materials considered here are barium titanate and lead zirconate titanate (PZT), in which oxygen vacancies is the most mobile and most frequently appearing defect species. Intentionally introduced foreign atoms (dopants) can adjust the material properties according to their field of application by generating electric dipoles with the vacancies. Agglomerations of point defects can strongly influence the domain wall motion. The domain wall can be slowed down or even be stopped by the locally varying fields in the vicinity of the clusters. Accumulations of point defects can be detected at electrodes, pores or in the bulk of fatigued samples. The present thesis concentrates focuses on the self interaction behaviour of point defects in the bulk. A micro mechanical continuum model is used to show the qualitative and the quantitative interaction behaviour of defects in a static setup and during drift processes. The modelling neglects the ferroelectric switching mechanisms, but is applicable to every piezoelectric material. The underlying differential equations are solved by means of analytical (Green's functions) and numerical (Finite Differences with discrete Fourier Transform) methods, depending on the boundary conditions. The defects are introduced as localised Eigenstrains, as electric charges and as electric dipoles. The required defect parameters are obtained by comparisons with atomistic methods (lattice statics). There are no standardised procedures available for the parameter identification. In this thesis, the mechanical parameter is obtained by a comparison of relaxation volumes of the atomic lattice and the continuum solution. Parameters for isotropic and anisotropic defect descriptions are identified. The strength of the electric defect is obtained by a comparison of the electric internal energies of atomistics and continuum. The appearing singularities are eliminated by taking only the energy difference of a infinite crystal and a periodic cell into account. Both identification processes are carried out for the cubic structure of barium titanate, which decouples the mechanical and the electrical problem. The defect interaction is analysed by means of configurational forces. The mechanical defect parameter generates a directional short-range attraction between defects. An electrical defect parameter produces the long-range Coulomb interaction, which predicts a repulsion of two similar charges. Additionally, an interaction with defect dipoles is taken into account. It is shown that a defect agglomeration is possible for any static defect configuration. Finally, defect drift is simulated using a thermodynamically motivated migration law based on configurational forces. In this context, the migration of point defects due to self interaction, and the influence of external fields is investigated.