Multiwalled carbon nanotubes: the thicker, the softer

Marino Arroyo's picture

I. Arias and M. Arroyo, Size-Dependent Nonlinear Elastic Scaling of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 085503 (2008).

Size matters for the mechanics of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). It has been known for some time that MWCNTs often wrinkle under deformation exhibiting the so-called rippling deformation pattern, which makes MWCNTs much softer. Through large-scale multiscale simulations we have characterized with a power law the softer wrinkled response, and showed that the transition strain between the super-stiff behavior attributed to MWCNTs and this softer regime scales as the inverse of the tube diameter. Thus, the tera Pascal Young’s modulus can be fully exploited in devices and materials only for moderately sized tubes. Similarly, in interpreting experiments or designing devices, the classical Euler-Bernouilli beam theory can only be applied to such tubes. The elasticity of thicker tubes is nonlinear, typically display mixtures of wrinkled and unwrinkled sections, and often exhibit hysteretic mechanical behavior.

See http://imechanica.org/node/2395 for a related post.


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