Micromechanics and multiscale mechanics of carbon nanotubes-reinforced composites

X. Q. Feng*, D. L. Shi, Y. G. Huang, K. C. Hwang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Owing to their superior mechanical and physical properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) seem to hold a great promise as an ideal reinforcing material for composites of high-strength and low-density. In the present paper, the stiffening and strengthening physical mechanisms of CNTs in polymer matrix are investigated theoretically by using micromechanics and multiscale mechanics methods. First, the stiffening effect of CNTs in composites is quantitatively examined by micromechanics methods. Second, a hybrid atomistic/continuum mechanics method is established in the present paper to study the deformation and fracture behaviors of CNTs in composites due to the enormous difference in the scales and mechanisms involved in this issue. A unit cell containing a CNT embedded in a matrix is divided in three regions, which are simulated by the atomic-potential method, the quasi-continuum method based on the modified Cauchy-Born rule, and the classical continuum mechanics, respectively. This method can not only predict the formation of Stone-Wales defects, but also simulate the subsequent deformation and fracture process of CNTs embedded in composites. The present study elucidates some key factors (e.g., waviness, agglomeration, residual stress, and interphase) that influence the mechanical properties of CNT-reinforced composites, and therefore may be useful for improving and tailoring their mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMultiscaling in Molecular and Continuum Mechanics
Subtitle of host publicationInteraction of Time and Size from Macro to Nano: Application to Biology, Physics, Material Science, Mechanics, Structural and Processing Engineering
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages37
ISBN (Print)1402050615, 9781402050619
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Composite
  • Constitutive relation
  • Fracture
  • Micromechanics
  • Multiscale mechanics method
  • Stone-Wales transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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