Study of the mechanical properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes

Paola Jaramillo, Haym Benaroya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Carbon nanotubes are composed of C-C covalent bonds, which are the strongest bonds found in nature. Hence, carbon nanotubes are identified as the "ultimate fiber" due to their great strength in the direction of the nanotube axis and their ability to enhance the elastic properties of materials. The first indications of synthesizing carbon nanotubes date back to 1952. Russian scientists Radushkevich and Lukyanovich [1] were able to produce nanosized hollow carbon filaments. Nevertheless, it was until 1991 that multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were discovered by Sumio Iijima [2,3] at NEC Corporation Lab, which was followed by his study and synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) in 1993. Since their discovery, there has been a constant pursuit to understand the properties and identify the optimal applications of these structures. The paper focuses on the importance of carbon nanotubes and their ability to enhance the mechanical properties of other materials due to their unique elastic properties. Additionally, carbon nanotubes can improve the capabilities and properties of other materials, like polymer composite. Currently, there is an ongoing process to accurately understand the fundamental characteristics of these structures, in particular, to develop the governing laws necessary to control, predict, and manipulate these properties. This will eventually have an impact on the bulk properties of materials where carbon nanotubes may be incorporated. The current research focuses on the ability to create simplified models that can accurately predict the response of carbon nanotube structures undergoing different types of loading conditions. In this way, the mechanical characteristics regarding single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) through finite element modeling are computed. A simplified finite element model is created in ANSYS for different types of SWCNTs with varying input parameters. An input array for the elastic modulus and load is generated to control the physical effects of these parameters in the nanotube structure. The geometries of the nanotubes are altered through various thicknesses employed for the construction of the C - C bonds. The current work contributes to the generation of different model responses to monitor the stress distribution employing a wide range of parameter values. The ability to introduce variability in the parameters and boundary conditions without altering the capabilities and computational time in the model represents the main contribution of this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2008 Proceedings of ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2008
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2009
Event2008 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2008 - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Oct 31 2008Nov 6 2008

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings


Other2008 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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