Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Y. Charles Lu


Since their discoveries, carbon nanotubes have been widely studied, but mostly in the forms of 1D individual carbon nanotube (CNT). From practical application point of view, it is highly desirable to produce carbon nanotubes in large scales. This has resulted in a new class of carbon nanotube material, called the vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays (VA-CNTs). To date, our ability to design and model this complex material is still limited. The classical molecular mechanics methods used to model individual CNTs are not applicable to the modeling of VA-CNT structures due to the significant computational efforts required. This research is to develop efficient structural mechanics approaches to design, model and characterize the mechanical responses of the VA-CNTs. The structural beam and shell mechanics are generally applicable to the well aligned VA-CNTs prepared by template synthesis while the structural solid elements are more applicable to much complex, super-long VA-CNTs from template-free synthesis. VA-CNTs are also highly “tunable” from the structure standpoint. The architectures and geometric parameters of the VA-CNTs have been thoroughly examined, including tube configuration, tube diameter, tube height, nanotube array density, tube distribution pattern, among many other factors. Overall, the structural mechanics approaches are simple and robust methods for design and characterization of these novel carbon nanomaterials