Understanding the Mechanism of the Structure-Dependent Mechanical Performance of Carbon-Nanotube-Based Hierarchical Networks from a Deformation Mode Perspective

X Shi and XQ He and XF Liu, NANOMATERIALS, 13, 3119 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/nano13243119

Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based networks have wide applications, in which structural design and control are important to achieve the desired performance. This paper focuses on the mechanism behind the structure- dependent mechanical performance of a CNT-based hierarchical network, named a super carbon nanotube (SCNT), which can provide valuable guidance for the structural design of CNT-based networks. Through molecular dynamic (MD) simulations, the mechanical properties of the SCNTs were found to be affected by the arrangement, length and chirality of the CNTs. Different CNT arrangements cause variations of up to 15% in the ultimate tensile strains of the SCNTs. The CNT length determines the tangent elastic modulus of the SCNTs at the early stage. Changing the CNT chirality could transform the fracture modes of the SCNT from brittle to ductile. The underlying mechanisms were found to be associated with the deformation mode of the SCNTs. All the SCNTs undergo a top-down hierarchical deformation process from the network-level angle variations to the CNT-level elongations, but some vital details vary, such as the geometrical parameters. The CNT arrangement induces different deformation contributors of the SCNTs. The CNT length affects the beginning point of the CNT elongation deformation. The CNT chirality plays a crucial role in the stability of the junction's atomic topology, where the crack propagation commences.

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