Measuring elastic property of single-walled carbon nanotubes by nanoindentation: A theoretical framework

Ling LIU, Manhong ZHAO, Qulan ZHOU, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoindentation is an effective technique for deducing the elastic property of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). Following an atomistic study of the nanoindentation mechanism, reverse analysis algorithms are proposed by utilizing the indentation force-depth data measured from the initial uniaxial compression and post-buckling regimes, respectively, which lead to stretching stiffness of 382 Pa m and 429 Pa m, that are very close to those in the literature. Parallel finite element simulations incorporating atomic interactions are also carried out, which closely duplicates the indentation response of SWCNTs in atomistic simulations. The numerical studies carried out in this paper may be used to guide the nanoindentation experiments, explain and extract useful data from the test, as well as stimulate new experiments. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-267
Number of pages12
JournalMechanics Research Communications
Issue number4
Early online date5 Feb 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The work is supported in part by NSF CMS-0407743 and CMMI-0643726, and in part by the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University.


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Elastic property
  • Molecular mechanics
  • Nanoindentation


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