Title: Mechanomutable carbon nanotube arrays

Authors: Steven Cranford, Markus J. Buehler

Addresses: Center for Materials Science and Engineering and Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 1-235A&B, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA. ' Center for Materials Science and Engineering and Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 1-235A&B, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA

Abstract: Here we present atomistic-based multi-scale simulation studies of a magnetically active array of carbon nanotubes to illustrate the concept of mechanomutability. We show that applying external fields, it is possible to change the nanostructure and to induce a desired mechanical response. Direct numerical simulations are reported that illustrate this concept via mechanical testing through nanoindentation. Specifically, the contact stiffness of an array of carbon nanotubes can be changed reversibly from approximately 73 MPa to 910 MPa due to the application of an external field. A hierarchical approach (coarse grain molecular modelling) is implemented to develop a framework that can successfully collaborate atomistic theory and simulations with material synthesis and physical experimentation, and facilitate the progress of novel mechanomutable structural materials.

Keywords: mechanomutability; nanomechanics; deformation; multi-scale modelling; carbon nanotubes; CNT; nanotechnology; nanostructures; nanoindentation; contact stiffness; structural materials; simulation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMSI.2009.028611

International Journal of Materials and Structural Integrity, 2009 Vol.3 No.2/3, pp.161 - 178

Available online: 21 Sep 2009 *

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