2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Molecular Dynamics Study on the Elastic Properties of Carbon Nanotube Metal Matrix Composite

I-L Chang and C-N Yeh
National Chung Cheng University, TW

carbon nanotube, metal matrix, molecular dynamics

Nanotechnology is recognized as one of the most promising technology development for the 21st century. In the materials industry, the development of nanocomposites is a rapidly expanding multidisciplinary research area. A small amount of nano-reinforcement could be mixed with matrix to achieve novel properties which are much better than the matrix constituent materials. The objective of this work is to explore the nanostructure effects and properties of carbon nanotubes (CNT) on the overall mechanical properties of metal matrix nanocomposites. The mechanical response of carbon nanotube metal matrix composites when subjected to mechanical loading was studied using molecular dynamics simulation. In particular, molecular dynamics simulations can illustrate the effect of mechanical loading on specific regions of nanocomposites (e.g. interface of nanotubes and matrix), from which the load transfer from matrix to carbon nanotubes was explored. It is well-known that the load transfer efficiency plays a key role in the mechanical properties of conventional fiber composites and, thus, some attention was directed to the study whether the load could be effectively transferred to the nanotubes in nanocomposites. Tersoff, Morse and Lennard-Jones potential functions are used to describe the interactions between carbon, aluminum and carbon-aluminum atoms. In this research, various aspects of carbon nanotube nanostructure and properties on the mechanical reinforcement of metal matrix were addressed, i.e. CNT weight ratio effect, CNT chirality effect and the interfacial adhesion between nanotube and metal matrix. It was found that the Young’s modulus of nanocomposites increase as CNT weight ratios increase. The Young’s modulus of armchair CNT composites was found to be higher than those with zigzag and chiral ones for similar weight ratios. It was also concluded that the Young’s modulus of composites would improve if the adhesion between CNT and matrix becomes stronger.

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