Journal of Materials Research


Thermal transport in 3D pillared SWCNT–graphene nanostructures

Jungkyu Parka1 and Vikas Prakasha1 c1

a1 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-7222


We present results of a molecular dynamics study using adaptive intermolecular reactive empirical bond order interatomic potential to analyze thermal transport in three-dimensional pillared single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)–graphene superstructures comprised of unit cells with graphene floors and SWCNT pillars. The results indicate that in-plane as well as out-of-plane thermal conductivity in these superstructures can be tuned by varying the interpillar distance and/or the pillar height. The simulations also provide information on thermal interfacial resistance at the graphene–SWCNT junctions in both the in-plane and out-of-plane directions. Among the superstructures analyzed, the highest effective (based on the unit cell cross-sectional area) in-plane thermal conductivity was 40 W/(m K) with an out-of-plane thermal conductivity of 1.0 W/(m K) for unit cells with an interpillar distance Dx = 3.3 nm and pillar height Dz = 1.2 nm, while the highest out-of-plane thermal conductivity was 6.8 W/(m K) with an in-plane thermal conductivity of 6.4 W/(m K) with Dx = 2.1 nm and Dz = 4.2 nm.

(Received July 14 2012)

(Accepted November 07 2012)

Key Words:

  • thermal conductivity;
  • nanostructure;
  • simulation


c1 Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: