Mechanical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes and Their Polymer Nanocomposites

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More than 10 years have passed since carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been found during observations by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Since then, one of the major applications of the CNT is the reinforcements of plastics in processing composite materials, because it was found by experiments that CNT possessed splendid mechanical properties. Various experimental methods are conducted in order to understand the mechanical properties of varieties of CNT and CNT-based composite materials. The systematized data of the past research results of CNT and their nanocomposites are extremely useful to improve processing and design criteria for new nanocomposites in further studies. Before the CNT observations, vapor grown carbon fibers (VGCF) were already utilized for composite applications, although there have been only few experimental data about the mechanical properties of VGCF. The structure of VGCF is similar to that of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), and the major benefit of VGCF is less commercial price. Therefore, this review article overviews the experimental results regarding the various mechanical properties of CNT, VGCF, and their polymer nanocomposites. The experimental methods and results to measure the elastic modulus and strength of CNT and VGCF are first discussed in this article. Secondly, the different surface chemical modifications for CNT and VGCF are reviewed, because the surface chemical modifications play an important role for polymer nanocomposite processing and properties. Thirdly, fracture and fatigue properties of CNT/polymer nanocomposites are reviewed, since these properties are important, especially when these new nanocomposite materials are applied for structural applications.
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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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