Effects of nanotube waviness on the modulus of nanotube reinforced polymers

Recent experimental results demonstrate that substantial improvements in the mechanical behavior of polymers can be obtained using very small amounts of carbon nanotubes as a reinforcing phase.

Here, a method is developed to incorporate the typically observed curvature of the embedded nanotubes into traditional micromechanical methods for determination of the effective modulus of the nanotube-reinforced polymer. Using a combined finite element and micromechanical approach,

it was determined that the nanotube curvature significantly reduces the effective reinforcement when compared to straight nanotubes. This model suggests that nanotube waviness may be an additional mechanism limiting the modulus enhancement of nanotube-reinforced polymers.