Is a nanorod (or nanotube) with a lower Young's modulus stiffer? Is not Young's modulus a stiffness indicator?

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-724
Journal / PublicationScience China: Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


It has been a known fact in classical mechanics of materials that Young's modulus is an indicator of material stiffness and materials with a higher Young's modulus are stiffer. At the nanoscale, within the scope and under specific circumstances described in this paper, however, a nanorod (or a nanotube) with a smaller Young's modulus (smaller stress-strain rate) is stiffer. In such a scenario, Young's modulus is not a stiffness indicator for nanostructures. Furthermore, the nonlocal stress-strain rate is dependent on types of load, boundary conditions and location. This is likely to be one of the many possible reasons why numerous experiments in the past obtained significantly varying values of Young's modulus for a seemingly identical nanotube, i.e. because the types of loading and/or boundary conditions in the experiments were different, as well as at which point the property was measured. Based on the nonlocal elasticity theory and within the scope of material and geometric linearity, this paper reports the strange and hitherto unrealized effect that a nanorod (or a nanotube) with a lower Young's modulus (smaller stress-strain rate) indicates smaller extension in tensile analysis. Similarly, it is also predicted that a nanorod (or a nanotube) with a lower Young's modulus results in smaller bending deflection, higher critical buckling load, higher free vibration frequency and higher wave propagation velocity, which are at all consequences of a stiffer nanostructure. © Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010.

Research Area(s)

  • Nanorod, Nanotube, Nonlocal elasticity, Nonlocal stress, Stiffness, Tensile, Young's modulus