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Micromechanics of collective buckling in CNT turfs

Hamid Torabi's picture

Complex structures consisting of intertwined, nominally vertical carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are called turfs. Under uniform compression experiments, CNT turfs exhibit irreversible collective buckling of a layer preceded by reorientation of CNT segments. Experimentally observed independence of the buckling stress and the buckling wavelength on the turf width suggests the existence of an intrinsic material length. To investigate the relationship the macroscopic material properties and the statistical parameters describing the nano-scale geometry of the turf (tortuosity, density and connectivity) we develop a nano-scale computational model, based on the representation of CNT segments as elastica finite elements with van der Waals interactions. The virtual turfs are generated by means of a constrained random walk algorithm and subsequent relaxation. The resulting computational model is robust and is capable of modeling the collective behavior of CNTs. We first establish the dependence of statistical parameters on the computational parameters used for turf generation, then establish relationships between post-buckling stress, initial elastic modulus and buckling wavelength on statistical turf parameters. Finally, we analyze the reorientation of buckling planes of individual CNTs during the collective buckling process.

 

The paper can be found at:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2014.07.009

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