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Multi-scale modelling of fibre composites, carbon nanotube systems and thin films

NRC Grant:  14-023

Dr. H.M.Y.C. Mallikarachchi
Dept. of Civil Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
University of Moratuwa
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Area of Research: Civil Engineering



a) To study effect of weave geometry under large deformations at the structural scale (macro level).

b) Develop a simulation technique that can update material stiffness matrix depending on deformation at structural level (nonlinear geometric and material responses).

c) Incorporate the discreteness and quantum effects of atomic structures by using molecular mechanics force field in the derivation of stiffness matrix for nanomaterials.


Development of woven fibre composites and carbon nanotubes has open doors to numerous applications in the fields ranging from spacecraft to nano-scale devices in medicine. Unlike traditional metal alloys these materials have very complex microstructure that governs the performance of the final product. Accurate prediction of material properties of woven composites is essential for future aerospace, and light weight civil engineering structures like wind turbine blades. Similarly, advancement of carbon nanotubes leads to fabrication of high performance resonators which have novel applications from electronics to medicine.  The proposed research involves collaborators from leading research institutes including the world number one in Times Higher Education University Rankings. Thus this will be a massive boost to science and technology capacity building in the country. Furthermore, present high demand for multiscale modelling researchers will make it possible to attract computational research and development work of leading engineering firms to Sri Lanka (similar to development of IT parks in computer industry).  Sri Lanka has 96.6% pure Vein graphite which can be a source of manufacturing carbon nanotubes.  Proper understanding of nano mechanics will lead to building efficient structures (i.e. use carbon nanotubes to reinforce cement materials will lead to reduction of cement quantity used within the country.  Parallel research is being carried by the collaborators on application of these techniques especially in optimization of aerospace and civil engineering structures. The Ministry of Technology and Research has identified Space Technology as one of the ten priorities listed under “Ten Thrust Technological Pathways for Sri Lanka.