Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are one of the strongest known materials. When assembled into fibres, however, their strength becomes impaired by defects, impurities, random orientations and discontinuous lengths. Fabricating CNT fibres with strength reaching that of a single CNT has been an enduring challenge. Here, we demonstrate the fabrication of CNT bundles (CNTBs) that are centimetres long with tensile strength over 80 GPa using ultralong defect-free CNTs. The tensile strength of CNTBs is controlled by the Daniels effect owing to the non-uniformity of the initial strains in the components. We propose a synchronous tightening and relaxing strategy to release these non-uniform initial strains. The fabricated CNTBs, consisting of a large number of components with parallel alignment, defect-free structures, continuous lengths and uniform initial strains, exhibit a tensile strength of 80 GPa (corresponding to an engineering tensile strength of 43 GPa), which is far higher than that of any other strong fibre.
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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 21636005), the Foundation for the National Basic Research Program of China (grant no. 2016YFA0200102), the NSFC (grant nos. 11227202, 1147215) and the National Basic Research Program of China (grant no. 2013CB934203). We thank R. H. Baughman for his advice on the manuscript. We also thank P. Shi, H. Wang and H. Xie for discussions.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Bai, Y., Zhang, R., Ye, X. et al. Carbon nanotube bundles with tensile strength over 80 GPa. Nature Nanotech 13, 589–595 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0141-z
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