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Strength and Breaking Mechanism of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Under Tensile Load

Science  28 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5453, pp. 637-640
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5453.637

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Abstract

The tensile strengths of individual multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were measured with a “nanostressing stage” located within a scanning electron microscope. The tensile-loading experiment was prepared and observed entirely within the microscope and was recorded on video. The MWCNTs broke in the outermost layer (“sword-in-sheath” failure), and the tensile strength of this layer ranged from 11 to 63 gigapascals for the set of 19 MWCNTs that were loaded. Analysis of the stress-strain curves for individual MWCNTs indicated that the Young's modulus E of the outermost layer varied from 270 to 950 gigapascals. Transmission electron microscopic examination of the broken nanotube fragments revealed a variety of structures, such as a nanotube ribbon, a wave pattern, and partial radial collapse.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ruoff{at}wuphys.wustl.edu

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