A continuum state variable theory to model the size-dependent surface energy of nanostructures
We propose a continuum-based state variable theory to quantify the excess surface free energy density throughout a nanostructure. The size-dependent effect exhibited by nanoplates and spherical nanoparticles i.e. the reduction of surface energy with reducing nanostructure size is well-captured by our continuum state variable theory. Our constitutive theory is also able to predict the reducing energetic difference between the surface and interior (bulk) portions of a nanostructure with decreasing nanostructure size.