Open Access Nano Express

Energy absorption ability of buckyball C720 at low impact speed: a numerical study based on molecular dynamics

Jun Xu1, Yibing Li2, Yong Xiang3* and Xi Chen145*

Author Affiliations

1 Columbia Nanomechanics Research Center, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA

2 State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, People’s Republic of China

3 State Key Lab of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated Devices, School of Energy Science and Engineering, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, Sichuan 611731, People’s Republic of China

4 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul, 133-791, South Korea

5 International Center for Applied Mechanics, SV Lab, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, 710049, People’s Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:54  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-54

Published: 29 January 2013


The dynamic impact response of giant buckyball C720 is investigated by using molecular dynamics simulations. The non-recoverable deformation of C720 makes it an ideal candidate for high-performance energy absorption. Firstly, mechanical behaviors under dynamic impact and low-speed crushing are simulated and modeled, which clarifies the buckling-related energy absorption mechanism. One-dimensional C720 arrays (both vertical and horizontal alignments) are studied at various impact speeds, which show that the energy absorption ability is dominated by the impact energy per buckyball and less sensitive to the number and arrangement direction of buckyballs. Three-dimensional stacking of buckyballs in simple cubic, body-centered cubic, hexagonal, and face-centered cubic forms are investigated. Stacking form with higher occupation density yields higher energy absorption. The present study may shed lights on employing C720 assembly as an advanced energy absorption system against low-speed impacts.

Impact; Energy absorption; Buckyball; Buckling