Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube Yarns by Downsizing an Ancient Technology

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Science  19 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5700, pp. 1358-1361
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104276

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By introducing twist during spinning of multiwalled carbon nanotubes from nanotube forests to make multi-ply, torque-stabilized yarns, we achieve yarn strengths greater than 460 megapascals. These yarns deform hysteretically over large strain ranges, reversibly providing up to 48% energy damping, and are nearly as tough as fibers used for bulletproof vests. Unlike ordinary fibers and yarns, these nanotube yarns are not degraded in strength by overhand knotting. They also retain their strength and flexibility after heating in air at 450°C for an hour or when immersed in liquid nitrogen. High creep resistance and high electrical conductivity are observed and are retained after polymer infiltration, which substantially increases yarn strength.

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