Computational structural modeling and elastoplastic mechanical properties of carbon nanotube reinforced aluminum matrix composites
Materials Science and Engineering A
Due to their remarkable mechanical properties, carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced aluminum (Al) matrix composites have attracted a wide range of research interests. This work attempts to experimentally and numerically investigate the relationship between the micro-structures and mechanical behavior of CNT/Al composites. Three-dimensional (3D) computational structural modeling of CNT/Al composites is performed, in which the size, morphology, orientation, location and volume fraction of CNTs are reproduced to be similar to those of the actual micro-structures of CNT/Al composites. The strengthening of the mechanical properties of the constituent materials of CNT/Al composites and reasonable load and boundary conditions are studied based on the models of CNT/Al composites developed. The tensile mechanical behavior of CNT/Al composites is numerically evaluated and experimentally verified. Results show that the enhanced mechanical properties of CNT/Al composites can be attributed to three factors: CNT reinforcements, matrix grain refinement and layered architectures. Through the microscopic structural modeling methods presented herein, the effects of model size, interfacial behavior, volume fraction of CNTs and layered structures on the mechanical behaviors of CNT/Al composites can be reproduced to understand the strengthening and deformation mechanisms of CNT/Al composites.