Influence of Inter-tube Connections on the Stress-Strain Behavior of Nanotube-Polymer Composites: Molecular Dynamics

Stress-strain curve of inter-tube connected carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced polymer composite under axial loading generated from molecular dynamics simulation is presented. Comparison of the response to axial mechanical loading between this composite system with composite systems reinforced by long, continuous CNTs (replicated via periodic boundary conditions) and short, discontinuous CNTs has been made. Simulation results showed that the inter-tube connection improved the mechanical properties of short discontinuous CNTs dramatically. Though still weaker than long CNT/polymer composite, more remarkable increase in the stiffness relative to the polymer was observed in the inter-tube connected CNT/polymer composite than in the discontinuous CNT/polymer composite. The manually introduced bridge break process resulted in a stress-strain curve of ductile fracture mode, which is consistent with the experimental result.