Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ivan I. Oleynik


Carbon, Diamond, Graphene, Interatomic Potentials, Molecular Dynamics, Shock wave


The goal of this PhD research project is to devise a robust interatomic potential for large scale molecular dynamics simulations of carbon materials under extreme conditions. This screened-environment dependent reactive empirical bond order potential (SED-REBO) is specifically designed to describe carbon materials under extreme compressive or tensile stresses. Based on the original REBO potential by Brenner and co workers, SED-REBO includes reparametrized pairwise interaction terms and a new screening term, which serves the role of a variable cutoff. The SED-REBO potential overcomes the deficiencies found with the most commonly used interatomic potentials for carbon: the appearance of artificial forces due to short cutoff that are known to create erroneous phenomena including ductile fracture of graphene and carbon nanotubes, which contradicts the experimentally observed brittle character of these materials. SED-REBO was applied in large scale molecular dynamics simulations of nanoindentation of graphene membranes and shock-induced compression of diamond. It was shown in the first computational experiment that graphene membranes exhibit a non-linear response to large magnitude of indentation, followed by a brittle fracture in agreement with experiments. The strength of graphene was determined using the kinetic theory of fracture, and the crack propagation mechanisms in the material were identified. It was found in large-scale shock simulations that SED-REBO improves the predictive power of MD simulations of carbon materials at extreme conditions.