This article examines the effect of interfacial load transfer on the stress distribution in carbon nanotube/polymer composites through a stress analysis of the nanotube/matrix system. Both isostrain and isostress loading conditions are investigated. The nanotube is modeled by the molecular structural mechanics method at the atomistic level. The matrix is modeled by the finite element method, and the nanotube/matrix interface is assumed to be bonded either perfectly or by van der Waals interactions. The fundamental issues examined include the interfacial shear stress distribution, stress concentration in the matrix in the vicinity of nanotube ends, axial stress profile in the nanotube, and the effect of nanotube aspect ratio on load transfer.
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