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Nanotechnology. 2013 Apr 19;24(15):155706. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/24/15/155706. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

The viability and limitations of percolation theory in modeling the electrical behavior of carbon nanotube-polymer composites.

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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7910, USA.

Abstract

A new modeling method has been proposed to investigate how the electrical conductivity of carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced polymer composites are affected by tunneling distance, volume fraction, and tube aspect ratios. A search algorithm and an electrical junction identification method was developed with a percolation approach to determine conductive paths for three-dimensional (3D) carbon nanotube arrangements and to account for electron tunneling effects. The predicted results are used to understand the limitations of percolation theory and experimental measurements and observations, and why percolation theory breaks down for specific CNT arrangements.

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