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A Computational Model for the Piezoresistive Response of Hybrid Carbon Nanostructured Networks



Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphenic sheets (GSs) are commonly used fillers for polymer nanocomposites. These nanocomposites can be used as selfsensing materials (strain and damage sensors) due to their piezoresistive response. CNT/GS hybrid fillers could be used to tune the nanocomposite’s piezoresistive response. The piezoresistive response of polymers filled with hybrid carbon nanofillers is a novel topic being studied recently experimentally, and very few computational works are available. Thus, a computational model is developed to study the piezoresistive response of polymers filled with CNT/GS hybrid fillers, reproducing geometries and conditions similar to those used in experiments. This computational model generates a network of three dimensional (3D) representations of carbon nanostructures inside a cube, which represents the polymer matrix. The network of nanostructures is turned into a network of resistors to obtain the electrical conductivity of the cube, and thus the polymer nanocomposite. Mechanical strain is applied via coupling with a finite element software. To reduce computational time, embedded elements are used in the finite element simulations. Capabilities and limitations of the proposed computational model are explored.


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