Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) have been regarded as an excellent material for nano-electronic applications due to their superior electrical and thermal conductivity and current carrying capacity compared to conventional metals. In this dissertation interaction of CNTs with metals has been explored to determine the electrical conductance of the resulting composite material. It is discovered that CNT/Al composites conduct electric current up to 70% better than Cu and Ag nanowires of the same size. Density Functional theory in conjunction with Landauer formalism is used. The effects of incorporating Aluminum nanowires inside metallic and semiconducting CNTs have been investigated and the results show that due to the interaction between CNTs and nanowires, the conductance of the composite material exceeds that of not only Al wires and CNTs but also Cu and Ag wires at nanoscale. Throughout this study, CNTs of various sizes have been studied and it is discovered that smaller CNTs which were considered to be semiconducting in tight binding calculations are actually metallic because of curvature effects and using this type of CNTs can considerably enhance the conductance of the composite material while keeping the weight and density extremely low. Conductance Mechanisms in various multiwalled CNTs have also been explored. In bulk material, no single CNT extends from one end to the other. Rather, a network of CNTs is formed. Hence, the electrical conductivity of bulk material is usually considerably lower than that of a single CNT. Conductance mechanisms between different CNTs in bulk material have been studied and the possibility of increasing the conductance of bulk material by incorporation of Al has been studied.


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Graduation Date





Chen, Quanfang


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering







Release Date

May 2026

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)