Fracture nucleation in single-wall carbon nanotubes under tension: A continuum analysis incorporating interatomic potentials

P. Zhang, Y. Huang*, H. Gao, K. C. Hwang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Scopus citations


Carbon nanotubes show great promise for applications ranging from nanocomposites, nanoelectronic components, nanosensors, to nanoscale mechanical probes. These materials exhibit very attractive mechanical properties with extraordinarily high stiffness and strength, and are of great interest to researchers from both atomistic and continuum points of view. In this paper, we intend to develop a continuum theory of fracture nucleation in single-walled carbon nanotubes by incorporating interatomic potentials between carbon atoms into a continuum constitutive model for the nanotube wall. In this theory, the fracture nucleation is viewed as a bifurcation instability of a homogeneously deformed nanotube at a critical strain. An eigenvalue problem is set up to determine the onset of fracture, with results in good agreement with those from atomistic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-458
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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