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.

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Fig. 3

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

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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

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Fig. 1

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

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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

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Fig. 5

Range of thermal conductivity for which our implementations are applied

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Fig. 6

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



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