Monte Carlo simulation based determination of nanocomposites thermal conductivity
Spanos, Pol D.
Master of Science
The effect of non-uniform distribution of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) in polymers on the thermal conductivity of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) is investigated. On a macro-scale, a Monte Carlo simulation based finite element approach is developed to account for the spatial uncertainty of SWCNTs based solely on a small fraction of the actual morphology of the nanotubes. Furthermore, at a micro/nano level, the proposed Monte Carlo finite element approach (MCFEA) captures nanotubes orientation, aspect ratio and diameter inferred from statistical information. A homogenization technique is applied to each finite element and variations of the effective thermal conductivity of PNCs are determined for various local SWCNT volume/weight fraction distributions. Finally, to assess the accuracy of the proposed MCFEA, its numerical results are compared with data obtained from relevant independent experimental studies.