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Analysis of Clustering and Interphase Region Effects on the Electrical Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Nanocomposites via Computational Micromechanics

[+] Author Affiliations
Gary D. Seidel

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Kelli L. Boehringer, Dimitris C. Lagoudas

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Paper No. SMASIS2008-670, pp. 159-165; 7 pages
  • ASME 2008 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, Volume 1
  • Ellicott City, Maryland, USA, October 28–30, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4331-4 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3839-6
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


In the present work, computational micromechanics techniques are applied towards predicting the effective electrical conductivities of polymer nanocomposites containing aligned bundles of SWCNTs at wide range of volume fractions. Periodic arrangements of well-dispersed and clustered/bundled SWCNTs are studied using the commercially available finite element software COMSOL Multiphysics 3.4. The volume averaged electric field and electric flux obtained are used to calculate the effective electrical conductivity of nanocomposites in both cases, therefore indicating the influence of clustering on the effective electrical conductivity. In addition, the influence of the presence of an interphase region on the effective electrical conductivity is considered in a parametric study in terms of both interphase thickness and conductivity for both the well dispersed case and for the clustered arrangements. Comparing the well-dispersed case with an interphase layer to the same arrangement without the interphase layer allows for the assessment of the influence of the interphase layer on the effective electrical conductivities, while similar comparisons for the clustered arrangements yield information about the combined effects of clustering and interphase regions. Initial results indicate that there is very little influence of the interphase layer on the effective conductivity prior to what is identified as the interphase percolation concentration, and that there is an appreciable combined effect of clustering in the presence of interphase regions which leads to increases in conductivity larger than the sum of the two effects independently.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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