In prior work an effective medium approach (EMA) has been developed to evaluate composite physical properties such as thermal conductivity, dielectric function or elastic modulus (C.-W. Nan, Prog. Mat. Sci. V. 37, 1993). This model combined with the Kapitza interface resistance can predict the effective thermal conductivity of randomly dispersed long fibers for a very low volume fraction (f < 0.01). The present study compares finite-element (FEA) computations and the EMA model for CNT-matrix compositions with low to moderate volume fractions, 0.001 to 0.02. The FEA results obtained show that the EMA model underestimates the effective thermal conductivity of the composite when the particles are very close to each other, even for small particle volume fractions. For aligned fibers the Kaptiza resistance cannot be neglected in the longitudinal direction. This paper proposes a general correction function for the dependence on particle to particle interaction based on the near neighbor distances and the number of near neighbors. This correction function reduces the EMA under prediction to within several percent (< 5%) in most cases.

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