Article

High-strength carbon nanotube fibre-like ribbon with high ductility and high electrical conductivity

  • Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3848 (2014)
  • doi:10.1038/ncomms4848
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Abstract

Macroscopic fibres made up of carbon nanotubes exhibit properties far below theoretical predictions and even much lower than those for conventional carbon fibres. Here we report improvements of mechanical and electrical properties by more than one order of magnitude by pressurized rolling. Our carbon nanotubes self-assemble to a hollow macroscopic cylinder in a tube reactor operated at high temperature and then condense in water or ethanol to form a fibre, which is continually spooled in an open-air environment. This initial fibre is densified by rolling under pressure, leading to a combination of high tensile strength (3.76–5.53 GPa), high tensile ductility (8–13%) and high electrical conductivity ((1.82–2.24) × 104 S cm−1). Our study therefore demonstrates strategies for future performance maximization and the very considerable potential of carbon nanotube assemblies for high-end uses.

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Acknowledgements

Financial supports from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No.: 51271077, U1362104) and Shanghai Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Promotion Center (Project No.: 12nm0503300) are greatly acknowledged. Thanks also go to L. F. Su, J. Ma, and Z. P. Wu for their early work on CNTs in our laboratory.

Author information

Author notes

    • J. N. Wang
    •  & X. G. Luo

    Co-first authors

Affiliations

  1. Nano-X Research Center, Key Laboratory of Pressure Systems and Safety (MOE), School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 520, 130 Meilong Road, Shanghai 200237, China

    • J. N. Wang
  2. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dong Chuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China

    • X. G. Luo
    • , T. Wu
    •  & Y. Chen

Authors

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Contributions

J.N.W. conceived and designed the experiments; X.G.L. performed most experiments; all authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript; J.N.W. and X.G.L. co-wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. N. Wang.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Figures, Tables and References

    Supplementary Figures 1-6, Supplementary Tables 1-2 and Supplementary References

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Movie 1

    Hollow cylindrical assembly coming out from the tube reactor at a slow rate.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Movie 2

    Hollow cylindrical assembly coming out from the tube reactor at a high rate.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Movie 3

    Condensation of CNT assembly and pulling of the formed fiber from water.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Movie 4

    The global spinning process from the extrusion of the cylindrical assembly to the winding of the fiber.

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