The oscillatory damped behaviour of incommensurate double-walled carbon nanotubes

José L. Rivera*, Clare McCabe, Peter T. Cummings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical properties of sliding carbon nanotubes have been investigated by classical molecular dynamics simulations in the canonical ensemble. In particular we have studied damped oscillations in the separation between the centres of mass of the inner and outer tubes of double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCN). Incommensurate DWCNs forming (7, 0) @ (9, 9) structures were simulated for systems at 298.15 K with axial lengths from 12.21 to 98.24 nm. The oscillations exhibited frequencies in the range of gigahertz with the frequency decreasing as the length of the system increases. The time until oscillations become negligible exhibited a nearly linear dependence on the length of the system. Two macroscopic models were developed in order to understand the forces involved in terms of macroscopic properties like friction and shear. The first model considered constant restoring forces during the whole event, while in the second the value of these constant restoring forces depended on the initial conditions of each oscillation. Both models reproduced the oscillations quite well, while the second model allows us to predict the dynamic shear strength in terms of the axial length of the system for tubes with the same diameters. The calculated dynamic shear strength exhibited monotonic behaviour with an inverse dependence on the length of the system. For systems with unequal axial lengths, the restoring force, which drives the oscillation, is reduced compared to the system with equal lengths, regardless of whether the outer nanotube is longer or shorter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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