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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Zhong Hu


Carbon nanotube ( CNT) possesses extraordinary mechanical, thermal, electrical and interfacial properties. In this paper, the effects of SWNT's (Single Walled Nano Tube) length, volume fraction and orientation on mechanical properties within a polymer matrix is investigated using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). The square, cylindrical and hexagonal representative volume elements (RVEs) are systematically analyzed by FEA considering three phases (fiber, matrix and interface/interphase) to extract the RVE's mechanical properties (Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio). The effects of the volume fraction and length of CNTs is studied by changing the cross sectional area of the RVEs and length of CNTs inside the RVEs. The mechanical properties obtained from the RVE models are compared with the theoretical results (Rule of mixtures). Finally, in order to evaluate the overall mechanical properties of the nanocomposites, the mechanical properties are be input into a three-dimensional unit cell of nanocomposites in which 30x30x30 elements are generated, carbon fiber orientation in each element is randomly generated by Monte Carlo method, and the mechanical properties of each element is represented by the mechanical properties obtained from the properties of the RVEs. The overall mechanical properties of the unit cell show a very good improvement in the results which is consistent with the experimental data.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nanotubes -- Mechanical properties.
Nanocomposites (Materials) -- Mechanical properties.
Polymeric composites.
Finite element method.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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