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Tunneling Effects and Electrical Conductivity of CNT Polymer Composites

  • S. Xu (a1), O. Rezvanian (a1), K. Peters (a1) and M.A. Zikry (a1)

Abstract

A three-dimensional (3D) carbon nanotube (CNT) network computational model was developed to investigate the electrical conductivity and current flow in polymer composites with randomly dispersed CNTs. A search algorithm was developed to determine conductive paths for 3D CNT arrangements and to account for electron tunneling effects. Tunneled currents were obtained as a function of tunneling distance and matrix material. Several possible CNT conductive paths were obtained and finite-element representative volume elements (RVEs) were then used to predict current densities in different CNT arrangements. The predictions indicate that random CNT arrangements can be optimized for current transport.

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