Surface effects in non-uniform nanobeams: Continuum vs. atomistic modeling

B. Bar On, E. Altus, E. B. Tadmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Nanobeams are expected to be one of the key structural elements in nanotechnology. Contrary to macroscopic structures, surface effects can strongly influence the stress and deformation properties of nano-devices. In addition, at such small scales, material non-uniformity becomes significant and must be considered. In this work, a continuum model for nanobeams, including both surface effects and material heterogeneity is developed. The model treats the surfaces as separate material layers with finite thickness. The continuum solution is compared with atomistic simulations, from which the effective bulk and surface properties are computed independently. A special case of self-deflection due to surface non-uniformities, which is important for design of nanosensors, is studied. A comparison between continuum and atomistic solutions reveals differences, which originate from local transition effects in the neighborhood of strong non-uniformities. This discrepancy is addressed by defining an effective length, found by correlating the beam deflections from both methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1252
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanobeams
  • Nanomechanics
  • Nanosensors
  • Surface effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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