Identification of energy dissipation mechanisms in CNT-reinforced nanocomposites. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this paper we present our recent findings on the mechanisms of energy dissipation in polymer-based nanocomposites obtained through experimental investigations. The matrix of the nanocomposite was polystyrene (PS) which was reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNTs). To study the mechanical strain energy dissipation of nanocomposites, we measured the ratio of loss to storage modulus for different CNT concentrations and alignments. CNT alignment was achieved via hot-drawing of PS-CNT. In addition, CNT agglomeration was studied via a combination of SEM imaging and Raman scanning. We found that at sufficiently low strains, energy dissipation in composites with high CNT alignment is not a function of applied strain, as no interfacial slip occurs between the CNTs and PS. However, below the interfacial slip strain threshold, damping scales monotonically with CNT content, which indicates the prevalence of CNT-CNT friction dissipation mechanisms within agglomerates. At higher strains, interfacial slip also contributes to energy dissipation. However, the increase in damping with strain, especially when CNT agglomerates are present, does not scale linearly with the effective interface area between CNTs and PS, suggesting a significant contribution of friction between CNTs within agglomerates to energy dissipation at large strains. In addition, for the first time, a comparison between the energy dissipation in randomly oriented and aligned CNT composites was made. It is inferred that matrix plasticity and tearing caused by misorientation of CNTs with the loading direction is a major cause of energy dissipation. The results of our research can be used to design composites with high energy dissipation capability, especially for applications where dynamic loading may compromise structural stability and functionality, such as rotary wing structures and antennas.

published proceedings

  • Nanotechnology

author list (cited authors)

  • Gardea, F., Glaz, B., Riddick, J., Lagoudas, D. C., & Naraghi, M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Gardea, Frank||Glaz, Bryan||Riddick, Jaret||Lagoudas, Dimitris C||Naraghi, Mohammad

publication date

  • March 2016