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Research Papers

Electrothermomechanical Modeling and Analyses of Carbon Nanotube Polymer Composites

[+] Author and Article Information
M. A. Zikry

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC 27695-7910

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 20, 2012; final manuscript received November 3, 2012; published online March 28, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Xi Chen.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 135(2), 021014 (Mar 28, 2013) (8 pages) Paper No: MATS-12-1151; doi: 10.1115/1.4023912 History: Received June 20, 2012; Revised November 03, 2012

A new finite element (FE) modeling method has been developed to investigate how the electrical-mechanical-thermal behavior of carbon nanotube (CNT)–reinforced polymer composites is affected by electron tunneling distances, volume fraction, and physically realistic tube aspect ratios. A representative CNT polymer composite conductive path was chosen from a percolation analysis to establish the three-dimensional (3D) computational finite-element (FE) approach. A specialized Maxwell FE formulation with a Fermi-based tunneling resistance was then used to obtain current density evolution for different CNT/polymer dispersions and tunneling distances. Analyses based on thermoelectrical and electrothermomechanical FE approaches were used to understand how CNT-epoxy composites behave under electrothermomechanical loading conditions.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A 3D unit cell of a polymer composite with a random CNT network. The intersecting straight segments indicate an electrically conductive path based on the percolation analysis.

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Fig. 2

Electrical conductivity as a function of CNT volume fraction based on the percolation analysis. CNTs used in the simulation have an aspect ratio of 100 and a tunneling length of 1.8 nm. The inset shows the log-log plot of the conductivity of the composite as a function of ((p-pc)) with a linear fit.

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Fig. 4

(a) The three-CNT connected with two tunnel regions: (b) tunnel 2; and (c) tunnel 1

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Fig. 3

(a) Finite element mesh for a 3D CNT/epoxy composite model; (b) and (c) close-up view of the two tunnel regions

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Fig. 7

Normalized total current density for CNTs in an epoxy matrix for a tunneling distance of 3 nm

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Fig. 8

Normalized nodal temperature for (a) epoxy/CNT composite and (b) CNTs for a tunneling distance of 1 nm

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Fig. 9

Normalized nodal temperature for (a) epoxy/CNT composite and (b) CNTs for a tunneling distance of 2 nm

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Fig. 10

Normalized nodal temperature for (a) epoxy/CNT composite and (b) CNTs for a tunneling distance of 3 nm

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Fig. 11

Normalized total current density for CNTs in epoxy matrix for a tunneling distance of 1 nm

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Fig. 12

Normalized total current density for CNTs in epoxy matrix for a tunneling distance of 2 nm

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Fig. 13

Normalized total current density for CNTs in epoxy matrix for a tunneling distance of 3 nm

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Fig. 14

Normalized 3D displacement for epoxy/CNT composite for a tunneling distance of 1 nm

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Fig. 15

Normalized von Mises stress for (a) epoxy/CNT composite and (b) CNTs for a tunneling distance of 1 nm

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Fig. 16

Normalized total current density for CNTs in epoxy matrix for a tunneling distance of 1 nm

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Fig. 5

Normalized total current density for (a) epoxy/CNT composite and (b) CNTs for a tunneling distance of 1 nm

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Fig. 6

Normalized total current density for CNTs in an epoxy matrix for a tunneling distance of 2 nm

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