High-strength composite fibers: Realizing true potential of carbon nanotubes in polymer matrix through continuous reticulate architecture and molecular level couplings

Wenjun Ma, Luqi Liu, Zhong Zhang, Rong Yang, Gang Liu, Taihua Zhang, Xuefeng An, Xiaosu Yi, Yan Ren, Zhiqiang Niu, Jinzhu Li, Haibo Dong, Weiya Zhou, Pulickel M. Ajayan, Sishen Xie

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

249 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Carbon nanotubes have unprecedented mechanical properties as defect-free nanoscale building blocks, but their potential has not been fully realized in composite materials due to weakness at the interfaces. Here we demonstrate that through load-transfer-favored three-dimensional architecture and molecular level couplings with polymer chains, true potential of CNTs can be realized in composites as initially envisioned. Composite fibers with reticulate nanotube architectures show order of magnitude improvement in strength compared to randomly dispersed short CNT reinforced composites reported before. The molecular level couplings between nanotubes and polymer chains results in drastic differences in the properties of thermoset and thermoplastic composite fibers, which indicate that conventional macroscopic composite theory fails to explain the overall hybrid behavior at nanoscale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2855-2861
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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