May 2010

Understanding the mechanics of nanomaterials is important both fundamentally and practically because, by capitalizing on the science emerging from the newly accessible size range, engineers can develop electromechanical devices, machines, and electronics on the nano scale. Professor Traian Dumitrica (Mechanical Engineering, MSI Associate Fellow) and his research group and collaborators use advanced computational microscopic methods to obtain accurate nanomechanical responses and to understand the fascinating properties of nanostructures directly from the interatomic interactions and the quantum mechanics of the electrons. The figure above shows how nanotubes break in one of two ways: the bonds either snap in a brittle fashion or they stretch and deform. An article about this research appears in the Spring 2010 MSI Research Bulletin.