The interfacial properties of epoxy nanocomposites reinforced by thermally exfoliated graphene nanosheets (TEG) and activated thermally exfoliated graphene nanosheets (a-TEG) were compared. The specific surface area (SSA) of a-TEG with well-defined micro-mesopore size distribution was 1000 m2/g, which was much higher that of TEG (550 m2/g). The interfacial interaction between a-TEG and epoxy was stronger than that of TEG/epoxy owing to their higher SSA and pore size which was proved by dynamic mechanical analysis. As a result, the tensile strength of a-TEG/epoxy was increased compared with that of TEG/epoxy for all concentrations. In particular, the tensile and flexural strength of a-TEG/epoxy was increased up to 20 and 50% in comparison to that of TEG/epoxy at 0.05 wt % graphene, respectively. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41164.