Thermal analysis of carbon-nanotube composites using a rigid-line inclusion model by the boundary integral equation method
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The boundary integral equation (BIE) method is applied for the thermal analysis of fiber-reinforced composites, particularly the carbon-nanotube (CNT) composites, based on a rigid-line inclusion model. The steady state heat conduction equation is solved using the BIE in a two-dimensional infinite domain containing line inclusions which are assumed to have a much higher thermal conductivity (like CNTs) than that of the host medium. Thus the temperature along the length of a line inclusion can be assumed constant. In this way, each inclusion can be regarded as a “rigid line” (the opposite of a crack) in the medium. It is shown that, like the crack case, the hypersingular (derivative) BIE can be applied to model these rigid lines. The boundary element method (BEM), accelerated with the fast multipole method, is used to solve the established hypersingular BIE. Numerical examples with up to 10,000 rigid lines (with 1,000,000 equations), are successfully solved by the BEM code on a laptop computer. Effective thermal conductivity of fiber-reinforced composites are evaluated using the computed temperature and heat flux fields. These numerical results are compared with the analytical solution for a single inclusion case and with the experimental one reported in the literature for carbon-nanotube composites for multiple inclusion cases. Good agreements are observed in both situations, which clearly demonstrates the potential of the developed approach in large-scale modeling of fiber-reinforced composites, particularly that of the emerging carbon-nanotube composites.
KeywordsThermal conductivity Boundary integral equation Carbon nanotube composites
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The second author (Y.J. L.) would like to acknowledge the support by the Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies of the Kyoto University and the fellowship by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).