Postgraduate Research Student
School of Civil Engineering, Room 360
Research project - Structural modification of carbon nanostructures for improvement of mechanical properties
Supervisor: Dr Gwenaelle Proust
Associate Supervisor: Dr Luming Shen
Carbon nanostructures are of significant interest due to their extraordinary mechanical, electronic and structural properties which leads to a broad range of potential applications from battery for a light sabre to the cable to the space elevator.
Carbon nanostructures, being made of carbon atoms and with each structure only able to be visualised using electron microscopes, are meta materials which means their properties can be affected by changes in their structures. This means that properties can be tuned to the application.
One weakness of carbon nanostructures is their intermolecular interactions. While the bond between atoms with structures are very strong, the bond between structures is weakly repulsive interactions i.e. Van der Waals (VdW) interactions. This causes low shear strength.
My project involves overcoming this effect by creating strong bonds between adjacent nanostructures. Instead of a weak repulsive force, the interconnected web of bonding causes the structures to act as a single cohesive unit, thereby improving shear strength.
The nanostructures I am work with are carbon nanotubes and graphene. I am using electron irradiation to induce the bonds and then testing mechanical properties to assess impact of irradiation.
- K. McDonell, G. Proust and L. Shen, MRS Proceedings, 1407 Symposium AA (2012) DOI: 10.1557
- K. McDonell, G Proust, L. Shen, 2010, IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 10 012180