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Published October 21, 2011 | public
Journal Article

Effect of density variation and non-covalent functionalization on the compressive behavior of carbon nanotube arrays


Arrays of aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been proposed for different applications, including electrochemical energy storage and shock-absorbing materials. Understanding their mechanical response, in relation to their structural characteristics, is important for tailoring the synthesis method to the different operational conditions of the material. In this paper, we grow vertically aligned CNT arrays using a thermal chemical vapor deposition system, and we study the effects of precursor flow on the structural and mechanical properties of the CNT arrays. We show that the CNT growth process is inhomogeneous along the direction of the precursor flow, resulting in varying bulk density at different points on the growth substrate. We also study the effects of non-covalent functionalization of the CNTs after growth, using surfactant and nanoparticles, to vary the effective bulk density and structural arrangement of the arrays. We find that the stiffness and peak stress of the materials increase approximately linearly with increasing bulk density.

Additional Information

© 2011 IOP Publishing. Received 22 July 2011, in final form 23 August 2011 Published 22 September 2011. This work is supported by the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, under contract W911NF-09-D-0001 with the Army Research Office. J R R also gratefully acknowledges support from the Department of Defense via a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellowship.

Additional details

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