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Tienchong Chang's picture

Nonlinear stick-spiral model for predicting mechanical behavior of single-walled carbon nanotubes

(PRB,74,245428,2006)  Based on a molecular mechanics concept, a nonlinear stick-spiral model is developed to investigate the mechanical behavior of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). The model is capable of predicting not only the initial elastic properties (e.g., Young’s modulus) but also the stress-strain relations of a SWCNT under axial, radial, and torsion conditions. The elastic properties, ultimate stress, and failure strain under various loading conditions are discussed and special attentions have been paid to the effects of the tube chirality and tube size. Some unique mechanical behaviors of chiral SWCNTs, such as axial strain-induced torsion, circumferential strain-induced torsion, and shear strain-induced extension are also studied. The predicted results from the present model are in good agreement with existing data, but very little computational cost is needed to yield them.

A "cool" way to remove hydrogen...and possibly a faster way to grow better crystals?

In growth of essentially every compound material such as GaN, one element always diffuses faster than the other(s) at the growth front. To grow good-quality materials, even the most sluggish element has to be sufficiently mobile, forcing materials growers to go to higher growth temperatures.

Multi-phase hyperelasticity with interface energy effect

Recently, J. Wang, L. Sun and I have formulated some ideas about the effective properties of heterogeneous materials with surface/interface energy effect, which are shown in the attached file.

Papers in the attached file can be viewed as a two-part paper, called “Multi-phase hyperelasticity with interface energy effect” if it is standalone. Part one of this topic is covered in “A theory of hyperelasticity of multi-phase media with surface/interface energy effect”, which provides theoretical background. Part two is covered in “Size-dependent effective properties of a heterogeneous material with interface energy effect: from finite deformation theory to infinitesimal strain analysis”, with more emphasis on application.

Young's modulus of single-walled carbon nanotubes

We report in detail that unlike other materials, carbon nanotubes are so small that changes in structure can affect the Young's modulus. The variation in modulus is attributed to differences in torsional strain, which is the dominant component of the total strain energy. Torsional strain, and correspondingly Young's modulus, increases significantly with decreasing tube diameter and increases slightly with decreasing tube helicity.  Journal of Applied Physics 84, 1939 (1998).

Force response and actin remodeling (agglomeration) in fibroblasts due to lateral indentation

We report the loading and unloading force response of single living adherent fibroblasts due to large lateral indentation obtained by a two-component microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) force sensor. Strong hysteretic force response is observed for all the tested cells. For the loading process, the force response is linear (often with small initial non-linearity) to a deformation scale comparable to the undeformed cell size, followed by plastic yielding. In situ visualization of actin fibers (GFP) reveals that during the indentation process, actin network depolymerizes irreversibly at discrete locations to form well-defined circular actin agglomerates all over the cell, which explains the irreversibility of the force response. Similar agglomeration is observed when the cell is compressed laterally by a micro plate. The distribution pattern of the agglomerates strongly correlates with the arrangement of the actin fibers of the pre-indented cell. The size of the agglomerates increases with time as ta  with a= 2~3 initially,   followed by a=.5~1. The higher growth rate suggests influx of actin into the agglomerates. The slower rate suggests a diffusive spreading, but the diffusion constant is two orders of magnitude lower than that of an actin monomer through the cytoplasm. Actin agglomeration has previously been observed due to biochemical treatment, gamma-radiation, and ischemic injury, and has been identified as a precursor to cell death. We believe, this is the first evidence of actin agglomeration due to mechanical stimuli. The study demonstrates that living cells may initiate similar functionalities in response to dissimilar mechanical and biochemical stimuli.

Axial-Strain-Induced Torsion in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

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Using classical molecular dynamics and empirical potentials, we show that the axial deformation of single-walled carbon nanotubes is coupled to their torsion. The axial-strain-induced torsion is limited to chiral nanotubes—graphite sheets rolled around an axis that breaks its symmetry. Small strain behavior is consistent with chirality and curvature-induced elastic anisotropy (CCIEA)—carbon nanotube rotation is equal and opposite in tension and compression, and decreases with curvature and chirality. The largestrain compressive response is remarkably different.

Dhirendra Kubair's picture

Functionally Graded Materials

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Dear Fellow Mechanicians,

My group is looking into some aspects of fracture in "functionally graded materials". I was curious to know if there are groups (on imechanica) interested or actively pursuing research on functionally graded materials or nanocomposites.

Nanostructure Physics


I am Ph.D. student making semiconductor nano structure and studying the physics of them. I am also intersted to make common people aware of this branch of physics. For this I have just started making a web site on nanostructure phyiscs

Tienchong Chang's picture

Research cooperation wanted to develop a new type of nanoRAM

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Recently, we proposed a new concept to construct nano random access memory (nanoRAM) using carbon nanotubes. One of the most singnificant advantages of our design is that a RAM element is composed of only one single carbon nanotube. We are now looking for universities, companies and individuals who can perform experimental investigations on the electromechanical behavior of carbon nanotubes to realize this theoretical design.

Marino Arroyo's picture

Maximum-Entropy approximants Matlab routines

Dear iMechanica colleagues,

I would like to announce that Matlab routines implementing the maximum-entropy approximation schemes presented in

Marino Arroyo and Michael Ortiz, “Local maximum-entropy approximation schemes: a seamless bridge between finite elements and meshfree methods”, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 65:2167–2202 (2006).

can be downloaded from

Xiaodong Li's picture

Experimental Nanomechanics

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Colleagues and friends,

sem graph

 a 175nm-thick cu films well bonded to polyimide substrate, and strained to 20% using the micro-force testing system( MTS tytron 250)

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phunguyen's picture

The eXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM)

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The aim of this writting is to give a brief introduction to the eXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM) and investigation of its practical applications.

Firstly introduced in 1999 by the work of Black and Belytschko, XFEM is a local partition of unity (PUM) enriched finite element method. By local, it means that only a region near the discontinuties such as cracks, holes, material interfaces are enriched. The most important concept in this method is "enrichment" which means that the displacement approximation is enriched (incorporated) by additional problem-specific functions. For example, for crack modelling, the Heaviside function is used to enrich nodes whose support cut by the crack face whereas the near tip asymptotic functions are used to model the crack tip singularity (nodes whose support containes the tip are enriched).

Non linear cell mechanics

Ex-vivo measure of stress-strain relationships in populations of living adherent cells by means of ligand-coated ferromagnetic microbeads (mean diameter: 4.5 µm) attached to the transmembrane mechanoreceptors which are linked to the cytoskeleton (CSK), reveal non linear cell mechanical behavior. However, this non linear cell mechanical behaviour is subjected to controversy for various reasons. First, it has not been systematically found. Results seem to depend on the micromanipulation method used and/or the cell type.

tension of cu film on Pi substrate

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Dear professor suo I am a master graduate of professor sun jun in xi'an jiaotong university, I have done some research on the tension of cu film on Pi substrate. I have a question about the mechanical behavior of thin film:the range of elastic deformation is enlarged just as the plastic stage in your simulation results, since the mutiple neckings result in improved plasticity of Pi-bonded Cu film.could you give me some advice? many thanks

Weixu Zhang's picture

Effect of surface energy on the yield strength of nanoporous materials

This is a very rough manuscript but including the original material we used. Any criticism or suggestion is welcome. The only aim of this letter is to reflect the multi-effect of surface energy on material or structure in nanosize scale. Here we report the effect of surface energy on the yield strength of nanoporous materials. The conventional micromechanics method is extended to consider the surface effect and expression of effective yield surface of nanoporous materials in complex stress state is derived.

Nanshu Lu's picture


By George A. Hazelrigg, National Science Foundation

I have been an NSF program director for 18 years. During this time, I have personally administered the review of some 3,000 proposals and been involved in the review of perhaps another 10,000. Through this experience, I have come to see that often there are real differences between winning proposals and losing proposals. The differences are clear. Largely, they are not subjective differences or differences of quality; to a large extent, losing proposals are just plain missing elements that are found in winning proposals. Although I have known this for some time, a recent experience reinforced it.

Xiaodong Li's picture

Nanostructured Metals Reveal Their Secret Strengthening Mechanisms

It is well known that metals are hardened by deformation and soften by annealing. How about nanostructured metals? Can we reply on conventional metal-working lore?

Intracellular CalciumWaves in Bone Cell Networks Under Single Cell Nanoindentation

In this study, bone cells were successfully cultured into a micropatterned network with dimensions close to that of in vivo osteocyte networks using microcontact printing and self-assembled monolyers (SAMs). The optimal geometric parameters for the formation of these networks were determined in terms of circle diameters and line widths. Bone cells patterned in these networks were also able to form gap junctions with each other, shown by immunofluorescent staining for the gap junction protein connexin 43, as well as the transfer of gap-junction permeable calcein-AM dye.

No need to worry about gravity at the atomic-/nano-scale

When a metal is grown onto a substrate of itself (homoepitaxy), the growth front is typically smooth, or at most is roughened by the formation of shallow hills (called surface mounds). The underlying reason for the roughening has been recognized to be of kinetic nature: Atoms landed on an upper terrace do not have enough time to overcome the "road blocks" provided by the steps and fill all the valleys (known as the Villian instability).

Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics Journal

A new journal dedicated to the field of Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics has been formed for about a year. Many members in this community (such as Ning Wang, Cheng Zhu, Phil LeDuc) are on the board of editors. You may want to check it out....

Micro cantilever pre-stress

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Dear all,

Im a PhD student in Cambridge Uni, UK working in the field of MEMS, and as part of my work, of late Ive been looking at deriving materials properties of MEMS thin film materials by means of resonant testing. The basic outline of the experiment is first creating free standing rectangular cantilevers of the material under test, evaporate with gold to increase reflectivity (when needed), then (under reasonable vacuum) applying a base excitation using a chirp signal into a piezo actuator and logging the cantilever tip response using a laser/photodetector setup. The frequency response is then calculated and the modal frequencies noted.

To determine the materials' properties, both an analytical model (with bending/torsion modes) and finite element model (using 2D mindlin) are created with similar geometry as the sample, and by minimising the squared relative error between the measured modes and those from the models, the value of Young's modulus (known density) and poissons ratio may be determined iteratively. These yield fairly consistent results.

To take the work further I now feel I should also include the effects of residual stress in the cantilevers. The method Ive been looking at is by using finite element (via COMSOL) - the beam geometry is created and loaded with the stress model ('surface stress' as a force tangential to the top boundary, and gradient stress as a 'tangential' force that varies from +F to -F from top to bottom boundary of the cantilever). The model is solved statically, and the deformed shape is then saved as the linearisation point for the next model, which then computes the eigenfrequencies. Btw I can only do this in 3D FE, which makes computation times quite long hence using iteration to quantify this stress highly unlikely.

In any case, is there an analytical model I can use to model the effect of this stress on multiple modes of a cantilever. Id like to verify whether the FE is giving me anything close to ball park numbers before I work out a means to compare them with experimental results. I was thinking of using the Rayleigh method by representing the effect of prestress as an additional term in the potential energy. The original mode shapes, with some modification will be used to evaluate the two energy integrals. The potential energy due to stress is worked out by measuring the static deflected shape using a zygo inteferometer - some rough model is used, with the beam curvature and peak deflection as input to work out the amount of this energy. Not having much experience in mechanics (i was an electronics undergrad!), Im not sure how good an estimate this would be, if at all its a useable or even possible one. Will the extra energy factor in to the torsion modes just the same?

The iMechanica Journal Club (iMech jClub)

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2019 Themes and Discussion Leaders

2018 Themes and Discussion Leaders


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