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Towards the world’s highest strength yarns from carbon nanotubes Return to case studies page

Dr Manoj Sridhar, Jackie Cai, Jie Min – ANFF Victorian node
Carbon nanotubes CNTs are about 1,000 times the strength of steel.

However, the breaking strength of a continuous form of CNT spun yarns – a macroscopic structure of CNTs – is generally less than 1% of the theoretical value (10 times the strength of steel). Improving CNT yarn strength is one of the most challenging and critical issues for CNT technology. In addition, CNT yarns are also extremely difficult to cut without severe deformation of the yarn structures.

Dr Manoj Sridhar, Senior Instrument Manager from the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, Dr Jackie Cai, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Materials Science & Engineering and Associate Professor Jie Min, visiting scholar at CSIRO from Donghua University, Shanghai, China through collaborating on this project have been able to delicately cross-section the yarns using the FEI Helios NanoLab 600 Dual-Beam Focused Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM) at MCN and successfully characterise the internal structure of CNT yarns to reveal the effects of various yarn treatments.

An example of the cross-section obtained by the FIB-SEM technique is shown below in Figure 2. The details of this work will be discussed in a journal paper that is currently in preparation. To date, the researchers have developed a fabrication method that produces CNT yarns with a tensile strength of roughly 2.5 GPa, and the information obtained via the FIB-SEM cross-sectioning technique will enable them to further improve the fabrication methodology to produce yarns with even higher tensile strength.