Mechanics of Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes 


Participants: A. Buldum (Physics), C. B. Clemons (Theo and Applied Math), D. Golovaty (Theo and Applied Math), D. D. Quinn, (Mechanical Eng), J. P. Wilber (Theo and Applied Math), G. W. Young (Theo and Applied Math)


Graphene layers and carbon nanotube are novel, nanoscale structures exhibiting remarkable mechanical properties, most notably an extraordinary tensile strength combined with the flexibility to sustain large compressive loads and bending deformations elastically. These properties naturally suggest certain applications, for example, using nanotubes as reinforcing fibers in composite materials or as probes in atomic force microscopy. Yet to realize these and numerous other potential applications requires the development of good continuum models. A particular challenge is to develop and analyze models that incorporate van der Waals interactions between graphene layers or between the walls in a multi-walled nanotube.

The research of our group has three goals. First, we seek to develop continuum models that efficiently and accurately incorporate van der Waals interactions. Second, we seek to use these models to formulate and analyze a set of fundamental buckling and bifurcation problems. Finally, we seek to develop multiscale techniques that blend continuum and atomistic approaches to understanding the mechanics of graphene layers and carbon nanotubes.