Length scales of interactions in magnetic, dielectric, and mechanical nanocomposites

R. Skomski, B. Balamurugan, E. Schubert, A. Enders, D. J. Sellmyer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


It is investigated how figures of merits of nanocomposites are affected by structural and interaction length scales. Aside from macroscopic effects without characteristic lengths scales and atomic-scale quantum-mechanical interactions there are nanoscale interactions that reflect a competition between different energy contributions. We consider three systems, namely dielectric media, carbon-black reinforced rubbers and magnetic composites. In all cases, it is relatively easy to determine effective materials constants, which do not involve specific length scales. Nucleation and breakdown phenomena tend to occur on a nanoscale and yield a logarithmic dependence of figures of merit on the macroscopic system size. Essential system-specific differences arise because figures of merits are generally nonlinear energy integrals. Furthermore, different physical interactions yield different length scales. For example, the interaction in magnetic hardsoft composites reflects the competition between relativistic anisotropy and nonrelativistic exchange interactions, but such hierarchies of interactions are more difficult to establish in mechanical polymer composites and dielectrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPolymer-Based Materials and Composites - Synthesis, Assembly, Properties and Applications
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2011
Event2010 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 29 2010Dec 3 2010

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Conference2010 MRS Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA


  • Breakdown
  • Coercivity
  • Dielectric energy density
  • Energy product
  • Fracture
  • Maxwell-Garnett equation, Bruggeman composites
  • Nanocomposites
  • Polymers
  • Rubber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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