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The upper limit of the thermal conductivity and the mechanical strength are predicted for the polyethylene chain, by performing the ab initio calculation and applying the quantum mechanical non-equilibrium Green’s function approach. Specially, there are two main findings from our calculation: (1) the thermal conductivity can reach a high value of 310 Wm−1 K−1 in a 100 nm polyethylene chain at room temperature and the thermal conductivity increases with the length of the chain; (2) the Young’s modulus in the polyethylene chain is as high as 374.5 GPa, and the polyethylene chain can sustain 32.85%±0.05% (ultimate) strain before undergoing structural phase transition into gaseous ethylene.

The lattice dynamics properties are investigated for twisting bilayer graphene. There are big jumps for the inter-layer potential at twisting angle θ=0° and 60°, implying the stability of Bernal-stacking and the instability of AA-stacking structures, while a long platform in [8,55]° indicates the ease of twisting bilayer graphene in this wide angle range. Significant frequency shifts are observed for the z breathing mode around θ=0° and 60°, while the frequency is a constant in a wide range [8,55]°. Using the z breathing mode, a mechanical nanoresonator is proposed to operate on a robust resonant frequency in terahertz range.

We perform both classical molecular dynamics simulations and beam model calculations to investigate the Young's modulus of kinked silicon nanowires (KSiNWs). The Young's modulus is found to be highly sensitive to the arm length of the kink and is essentially inversely proportional to the arm length. The mechanism underlying the size dependence is found to be the interplay between the kink angle potential and the arm length potential, where we obtain an analytic relationship between the Young's modulus and the arm length of the KSiNW. Our results provide insight into the application of this novel building block in nanomechanical devices.

Explicit solutions for the cohesive energy between carbon nanotubes, graphene and substrates are obtained through continuum modeling of the van der Waals interaction between them. The dependence of the cohesive energy on their size, spacing and crossing angles is analyzed. Checking against full atom molecular dynamics calculations and available experimental results shows that the continuum solution has high accuracy. The equilibrium distances between the nanotubes, graphene and substrates with minimum cohesive energy are also provided explicitly. The obtained analytical solution should be of great help for understanding the interaction between the nanostructures and substrates, and designing composites and nanoelectromechanical systems.

The distinguishing structural feature of single-layered black phosphorus is its puckered structure, which leads to many novel physical properties. In this work, we first present a new parameterization of the Stillinger–Weber potential for single-layered black phosphorus. In doing so, we reveal the importance of a cross-pucker interaction term in capturing its unique mechanical properties, such as a negative Poisson's ratio. In particular, we show that the cross-pucker interaction enables the pucker to act as a re-entrant hinge, which expands in the lateral direction when it is stretched in the longitudinal direction. As a consequence, single-layered black phosphorus has a negative Poisson's ratio in the direction perpendicular to the atomic plane. As an additional demonstration of the impact of the cross-pucker interaction, we show that it is also the key factor that enables capturing the edge stress-induced bending of single-layered black phosphorus that has been reported in ab initio calculations.

We conducted extensive molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the thermal conductivity of polycrystalline hexagonal boron-nitride (h-BN) films. To this aim, we constructed large atomistic models of polycrystalline h-BN sheets with random and uniform grain configuration. By performing equilibrium molecular dynamics (EMD) simulations, we investigated the influence of the average grain size on the thermal conductivity of polycrystalline h-BN films at various temperatures. Using the EMD results, we constructed finite element models of polycrystalline h-BN sheets to probe the thermal conductivity of samples with larger grain sizes. Our multiscale investigations not only provide a general viewpoint regarding the heat conduction in h-BN films but also propose that polycrystalline h-BN sheets present high thermal conductivity comparable to monocrystalline sheets.

We investigate the thermal conductivity in the armchair and zigzag MoS2 nanoribbons, by combining the non-equilibrium Green's function approach and the first-principles method. A strong orientation dependence is observed in the thermal conductivity. Particularly, the thermal conductivity for the armchair MoS2 nanoribbon is about 673.6 Wm−1 K−1 in the armchair nanoribbon, and 841.1 Wm−1 K−1 in the zigzag nanoribbon at room temperature. By calculating the Caroli transmission, we disclose the underlying mechanism for this strong orientation dependence to be the fewer phonon transport channels in the armchair MoS2 nanoribbon in the frequency range of [150, 200] cm−1. Through the scaling of the phonon dispersion, we further illustrate that the thermal conductivity calculated for the MoS2 nanoribbon is esentially in consistent with the superior thermal conductivity found for graphene.