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How do you model the changes in the mechanical properties of materials coated in with nano-materials? If I coat abs plastic with amorphous diamond how does that change the sheer, tensile and other strengths of the object?

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  • $\begingroup$ It depends. More precisely than 'nano', roughly how thick are the coatings that you're interested in? $\endgroup$ – lemon Apr 20 '15 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm just kind of a general question but lets assume about 4-6 nm. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Apr 20 '15 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ That's an awkward number in terms of modelling. Could you also clarify the actual properties you're interested in computing? E.g. the linear elasticity tensor? Floris's answer seems to address hardness more so than strength... $\endgroup$ – lemon Apr 20 '15 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ This question all came from the fact that I was wondering. I can take ABS plastic and change its load bearing characteristics by changing the geometry of how its printed but how can I make it other properties stronger so it can replace other materials. Can I take a steel valve and use a combination of printing geometry and Nano coatings and replace it with an ABS equivalent part. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Apr 20 '15 at 17:04
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Diamond like coatings have been used for a long time to improve wear characteristics of materials. The important thing to note is that most of the time, "wear" happens because some local force exceeds the material's intrinsic strength. A coating can act to spread out the force so that there is no local stress concentration - think of it as making "a sharp point a little bit blunter".

Now in the case of very thin coatings (you stated 4 - 6 nm) you will see some benefit, but it will be small. Sometimes, the more significant advantage is the reduction of friction (see for example this article). A nice treatment is given in this paper.

There is no simple answer...

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