Determination of the Mechanical Properties of Epoxy Silica Nanocomposites through FEA-Supported Evaluation of Ball Indentation Test Results

In the present paper a continuous Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulation method of the ball indentation hardness test is introduced in order to describe the deformation behavior of nanosilica composites and with this to extract precisely the material's stress-strain behavior. The developed procedure demonstrate in particular the adequacy of this method to determine the nanocomposites' elastic modulus which is compared with Halpin-Tsai and Lewis-Nielsen models as well as with experimental measurements taken from uniaxial tensile tests. The fracture area of all the tensile specimens was examined using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). It is shown that the correlation between the experimental results, the semi-empirical models and the FEA computational models concerning the elastic modulus values was satisfactory with very small deviations.