Capillarity and Wetting of Carbon Nanotubes

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Science  23 Sep 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5180, pp. 1850-1852
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5180.1850


The wetting and capillarity of carbon nanotubes were studied in detail here. Nanotubes are not "super-straws," although they can be wet and filled by substances having low surface tension, such as sulfur, selenium, and cesium, with an upper limit to this tension less than 200 millinewtons per meter. This limit implies that typical pure metals will not be drawn into the inner cavity of nanotubes through capillarity, whereas water and organic solvents will. These results have important implications for the further use of carbon nanotubes in experiments on a nanometer scale.