Article

Atomistic simulation and continuum modeling of graphene nanoribbons under uniaxial tension

Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering (Impact Factor: 1.93). 06/2011; 19(5):054006. DOI: 10.1088/0965-0393/19/5/054006

ABSTRACT Atomistic simulations are performed to study the nonlinear mechanical behavior of graphene nanoribbons under quasistatic uniaxial tension, emphasizing the effects of edge structures (armchair and zigzag, without and with hydrogen passivation) on elastic modulus and fracture strength. The numerical results are analyzed within a theoretical model of thermodynamics, which enables determination of the bulk strain energy density, the edge energy density and the hydrogen adsorption energy density as nonlinear functions of the applied strain based on static molecular mechanics simulations. These functions can be used to describe mechanical behavior of graphene nanoribbons from the initial linear elasticity to fracture. It is found that the initial Young's modulus of a graphene nanoribbon depends on the ribbon width and the edge chirality. Furthermore, it is found that the nominal strain to fracture is considerably lower for graphene nanoribbons with armchair edges than for ribbons with zigzag edges. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal two distinct fracture nucleation mechanisms: homogeneous nucleation for the zigzag-edged graphene nanoribbons and edge-controlled heterogeneous nucleation for the armchair-edged ribbons. The modeling and simulations in this study highlight the atomistic mechanisms for the nonlinear mechanical behavior of graphene nanoribbons with the edge effects, which is potentially important for developing integrated graphene-based devices.

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