A study on the bending stiffness of single-walled carbon nanotubes and related issues

Xu Guo, Teng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are usually modeled as elastic tubes and their bending stiffness D is often related to their axial stretching modulus E (Young's modulus) as in mechanics of materials (i.e. D=EI where I is the moment of inertia of the tube). However, recent studies show that large discrepancies may exist when this relationship is used to predict Young's modulus of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) through bending dominated deformations. In the present paper, the bending stiffness of SWCNTs and some related issues are investigated by the combined use of the molecular-mechanics (M-M) model and the deformation mapping technique. Based on the analysis results, the contradictions mentioned above can be explained well. Furthermore, an analytical expression for the bending stiffness of SWCNTs is also presented. It shows that the bending stiffness of a SWCNT is approximately proportional to the cube of its radius which agrees well with the existing molecular dynamics simulation and continuum theory based results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-443
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bending stiffness
  • Deformation mapping
  • Molecular-mechanics
  • Single-walled carbon nanotube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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