Mechano-chemical stabilization of three-dimensional carbon nanotube aggregates

R Koizumi and AHC Hart and G Brunetto and S Bhowmick and PS Owuor and JT Hamel and AX Gentles and S Ozden and J Lou and R Vajtai and SAS Asif and DS Galvao and CS Tiwary and PM Ajayan, CARBON, 110, 27-33 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2016.08.085

Here we report a combined study of experiments and simulations to understand how chemical functional groups can mechanically stabilize aggregates of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Ultralow density aggregates of chemically functionalized CNTs, in the form of macro-scale spheres made by freeze-drying method, show mechanical stabilization and near complete elastic recovery during deformation. Simulations of interacting functionalized carbon nanotube aggregates show better structural retention compared to non-functionalized CNTs under compression, suggesting that the atomic-level interactions between functional groups on adjoining CNTs help maintain structural rigidity and elastic response during loading. Aggregates of non-functionalized CNTs collapses under similar loading conditions. The dynamic mechanical responses of CNT macrostructures and mechano-chemical stabilization are directly observed using in-situ deformation inside a scanning electron microscope. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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