Damping characteristics of carbon nanotube based composites

X. Zhou, K. W. Wang, E. Shin, C. E. Bakis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Because of their ultra small, nanometer scale size and low density, the surface area to mass ratio (specific area) of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is extremely large. Therefore, in a nanotube-based polymeric composite structure, it is anticipated that high damping can be achieved by taking advantage of the interfacial friction between the nanotubes and the polymer resins. In addition, the CNT's large aspect ratio and high elastic modulus features allow for the design of such composites with large differences in strain between the constituents, which could further enhance the interfacial energy dissipation ability. Despite their wonderful engineering potential, the damping properties of CNT-based composites have not been examined in any detail. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the structural damping characteristics of polymeric composites distributed with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). In this study, the system is modeled using a four-phase composite, composed of a resin, voids, and bonded and debonded nanotubes. A micromechanical model is proposed to describe interfacial debonding evolution. To characterize the overall behavior, the Weibull's statistical function is employed to describe the varying probability of nanotube debonding under uniaxial loading. Fictitious, perfectly bonded inclusions are used to replace debonded nanotubes such that the elastic mechanical properties can be obtained through Eshelby's approach. To address damping effects, the concept of interfacial "stick-slip" frictional motion between the nanotubes and the resin is proposed. A critical shear (bonding) stress is used to separate the material system into an energy-conservative range due to strong interfacial bonding, and a nanotube sliding range resulting in energy dissipation. The developed method is further extended to analyze composites with randomly oriented nanotubes. The analytical results show that the critical shear stress, nanotube weight ratio and structure deformation are the factors affecting the damping characteristic. Experimental efforts are also performed to verify the trends predicted by the analysis. Through comparing with neat resin specimens, the study shows that one can indeed enhance damping by adding CNT fillers into polymeric resins. It is also observed that SWNT-based composites can achieve higher damping than composites with other types (different size, surface area, density and stiffness) of fillers. These results confirm the advantage of using CNTs for damping enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2003
Event2003 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Sep 2 2003Sep 6 2003


Other2003 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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