Technical Brief

Effect of the Carbon Nanotube Distribution on the Thermal Conductivity of Composite Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
Iman Eslami Afrooz

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP),
Bandar Seri Iskandar,
31750 Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia
e-mail: imaneslami@hotmail.com

Andreas Öchsner

Griffith School of Engineering,
Griffith University (Gold Coast Campus),
Building G09 Room 1.61, Parklands Drive,
Southport, Queensland 4214, Australia
e-mail: andreas.oechsner@gmail.com

1Corresponding author.

2Present address: No. 82, 11 Khayyam, Khayyam Boulevard, Mashhad 91857-18331, Iran.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received July 18, 2013; final manuscript received September 13, 2014; published online December 2, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Oronzio Manca.

J. Heat Transfer 137(3), 034501 (Mar 01, 2015) (5 pages) Paper No: HT-13-1360; doi: 10.1115/1.4029034 History: Received July 18, 2013; Revised September 13, 2014; Online December 02, 2014

Finite element analysis has been employed to investigate the effect of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) distribution on the thermal conductivity of composite materials. Several kinds of representative volume elements (RVEs) employed in this study are made by assuming that unidirectional CNTs are randomly distributed in a polymer matrix. It is also assumed that each set of RVEs contains a constant fiber volume fraction and aspect ratio. Results show that randomness—the way in which fibers are distributed inside the matrix—has a significant effect on the thermal conductivity of CNT composites. Results of this study were compared using the analytical Xue and Nan model and good agreement was observed.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Zhou, T., Wang, X., Liu, X., and Xiong, D., 2010, “Improved Thermal Conductivity of Epoxy Composites Using a Hybrid Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Micro-SiC Filler,” Carbon, 48(4), pp. 1171–1176. [CrossRef]
Chung, D. D. L., 2001, “Materials for Thermal Conduction,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 21(16), pp. 1593–1605. [CrossRef]
Han, Z., and Fina, A., 2011, “Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotubes and Their Polymer Nanocomposites: A Review,” Prog. Polym. Sci., 36(7), pp. 914–944. [CrossRef]
Berber, S., Kwon, Y. K., and Tománek, D., 2000, “Unusually High Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotubes,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 84, pp. 4613–4616. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Liang, Q., Moon, K. S., Jiang, H., and Wong, C. P., 2012, “Thermal Conductivity Enhancement of Epoxy Composites by Interfacial Covalent Bonding for Underfill and Thermal Interfacial Materials in Cu/Low-K Application,” IEEE Trans. Compon. Packag. Manuf. Technol., 2(10), pp. 1571–1579. [CrossRef]
Guthy, C., Du, F., Brand, S., Winey, K. I., and Fischer, J. E., 2007, “Thermal Conductivity of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube/PMMA Nanocomposites,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, 129(8), pp. 1096–1099. [CrossRef]
Hong, W. T., and Tai, N. H., 2008, “Investigations on the Thermal Conductivity of Composites Reinforced With Carbon Nanotubes,” Diamond Relat. Mater., 17(7–10), pp. 1577–1581. [CrossRef]
Yang, S. Y., Ma, C. C. M., Teng, C. C., Huang, Y. W., Liao, S. H., Huang, Y. L., Tien, H. W., Lee, T. M., and Chiou, K. C., 2010, “Effect of Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes on the Thermal Conductivity of Epoxy Composites,” Carbon, 48(3), pp. 592–603. [CrossRef]
Shenogin, S., Xue, L., Ozisik, R., Keblinski, P., and Cahill, D. G., 2004, “Role of Thermal Boundary Resistance on the Heat Flow in Carbon Nanotube Composites,” J. Appl. Phys., 95(12), pp. 8136–8144. [CrossRef]
Xue, Q. Z., 2006, “Model for the Effective Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube Composites,” Nanotechnology, 17, pp. 1655–1660. [CrossRef]
Afrooz, I. E., Öchsner, A., and Rahmandoust, M., 2012, “Effects of the Carbon Nanotube Distribution on the Macroscopic Stiffness of Composite Materials,” Comput. Mater. Sci., 51, pp. 422–429. [CrossRef]
Progelhof, R. C., Throne, J. L., and Ruetsch, R. R., 1976, “Methods for Predicting the Thermal Conductivity of Composite Systems: A Review,” Polym. Eng. Sci., 16, pp. 615–625. [CrossRef]
Tavman, I. H., 1998, “Effective Thermal Conductivity of Isotropic Polymer Composites,” Int. Commun. Heat Mass Transfer, 25(5), pp. 723–732. [CrossRef]
Halpin, J. C., 1969, “Stiffness and Expansion Estimates for Oriented Short Fiber Composites,” J. Compos. Mater., 3, pp. 732–735.
Lewis, T., and Nielsen, L., 1970, “Dynamic Mechanical Properties of Particulate-Filled Polymers,” J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 14(6), pp. 1449–1471. [CrossRef]
Xu, Y., Ray, G., and Abdel-Magid, B., 2006, “Thermal Behavior of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Polymer–Matrix Composites,” Composites, Part A, 37, pp. 114–121. [CrossRef]
Maxwell, J. C., 1904, A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, 2nd ed., Oxford University, Cambridge, MA, pp. 435–441.
Xue, Q. Z., 2005, “Model for Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube-Based Composites,” Physica B, 368(1–4), pp. 302–307. [CrossRef]
msc.marc R1, 2007, Help, Volume B, Element Library.
Fiedler, T., Solórzano, E., and Öchsner, A., 2008, “Numerical and Experimental Analysis of the Thermal Conductivity of Metallic Hollow Sphere Structures,” Mater. Lett., 62(8–9), pp. 1204–1207. [CrossRef]
Che, J., Çağin, T., and Goddard, W. A., III, 2000, “Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotubes,” Nanotechnology, 11(2), pp. 65–69. [CrossRef]
Nan, C. W., Liu, G., Lin, Y., and Li, M., 2004, “Interface Effect on Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube Composites,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 85(16), pp. 3549–3551. [CrossRef]
Bryning, M. B., Milkie, D. E., Islam, M. F., Kikkawa, J. M., and Yodh, A. G., 2005, “Thermal Conductivity and Interfacial Resistance in Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube Epoxy Composites,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 87(16), p. 161909. [CrossRef]
Li, X., Fan, X., Zhu, Y., Li, J., Adams, J. M., Shen, S., and Li, H., 2012, “Computational Modeling and Evaluation of the Thermal Behavior of Randomly Distributed Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Polymer Composites,” Comput. Mater. Sci., 63, pp. 207–213. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Thermal conductivity ratio versus CNTs volume fraction (%) [18]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic representation of the RVE model with dimensions of 300 × 60 × 60 nm3 containing randomly distributed CNT fibers with the length of 50 nm: (a) random dispersion and (b) uniform dispersion and indication of the modeling approach of the CNTs based on standard one-dimensional line elements

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Nanocomposite RVE model containing 2000 randomly distributed CNT fibers (CNT length = 50 nm and volume fraction = 10.48%)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Estimated longitudinal thermal conductivity versus nanotube volume fraction (%) for different distributions of CNT fibers in the matrix and comparison with the predictions of theoretical models

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Range of thermal conductivity for which our implementations are applied

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Estimated thermal conductivities of CNT composites as a function of number of nodes (randomness) in the matrix for different fiber volume fractions




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In