Volume 111, Number 5, September 2015
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties|
|Published online||14 September 2015|
Percolation in suspensions of hard nanoparticles: From spheres to needles
1 Research Unit for Physics and Materials Science, Université du Luxembourg - L-1511 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
2 Department of Chemistry, Durham University - South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
3 Theory of Polymers and Soft Matter, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven - Postbus 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Received: 28 May 2015
Accepted: 20 August 2015
We investigate geometric percolation and scaling relations in suspensions of nanorods, covering the entire range of aspect ratios from spheres to extremely slender needles. A new version of connectedness percolation theory is introduced and tested against specialised Monte Carlo simulations. The theory accurately predicts percolation thresholds for aspect ratios of rod length to width as low as 10. The percolation threshold for rod-like particles of aspect ratios below 1000 deviates significantly from the inverse aspect ratio scaling prediction, thought to be valid in the limit of infinitely slender rods and often used as a rule of thumb for nanofibres in composite materials. Hence, most fibres that are currently used as fillers in composite materials cannot be regarded as practically infinitely slender for the purposes of percolation theory. Comparing percolation thresholds of hard rods and new benchmark results for ideal rods, we find that i) for large aspect ratios, they differ by a factor that is inversely proportional to the connectivity distance between the hard cores, and ii) they approach the slender rod limit differently.
PACS: 64.60.ah – Percolation / 64.70.M- – Transitions in liquid crystals
© EPLA, 2015
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