Fracture Transitions at a Carbon-Nanotube/Polymer Interface


  • This project was supported by the (CNT) Thematic European network on “Carbon Nanotubes for Future Industrial Composites” (EU), the NOESIS European project on “Aerospace Nanotube Hybrid Composite Structures with Sensing and Actuating Capabilities”, the Minerva Foundation, the G. M. J. Schmidt Minerva Centre of Supramolecular Architectures, and the Israeli Academy of Science. H. D. Wagner is the recipient of the Livio Norzi Professorial Chair.


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The interfacial strength between carbon nanotubes and a polymer matrix increases dramatically when the carbon-nanotube surface is chemically modified. As individual nanotubes are pulled from a polymer matrix, a transition from pullout to fracture occurs (see Figure) at a critical nanotube embedded length, with chemically modified nanotubes showing a smaller critical length than unmodified ones.