Load transfer mechanism in carbon nanotube ropes

Dong Qian, Wing Kam Liu, Rodney S. Ruoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


We used molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics to study the nature of load transfer in a single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) bundle consisting of seven (10,10) SWCNTs: one core tube surrounded by six tubes on the perimeter. The surface tension and the inter-tube corrugation are identified as the two factors that contribute to load transfer. The surface tension effectively acts over a "line" (roughly over the circumference of each tube). The inter-tube corrugation scales linearly with respect to the contact surface area, and increases non-linearly as the inter-tube distance decreases. Relaxation in the nanotube cross-section leads to better inter-tube load transfer as a slight "faceting" develops; the tubes appear to be partially polygonized, rather than perfect cylinders. Compared with parallel bundles, twisting can significantly enhance the load transfer between neighboring tubes; this has been computed as a function of twist angle for this nanotube bundle system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1561-1569
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • A. Carbon fibers
  • A. Nanostructures
  • B. Mechanical properties
  • B. Modeling
  • C. Computational simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Engineering(all)

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