Owing to their outstanding combination of mechanical and transport properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), are expected to revolutionize composite materials. With an experimentally measured elastic modulus approaching 1 TPa and tensile strength of 100 GPa for individual CNTs, they represent the strongest candidate for new lightweight composites. This strength is over 10-fold higher than any commercial carbon fiber. Additionally, multi-walled (MW-)NTs are typically metallic and can carry currents of up to 109 A cm–2, have a thermal conductivity of 3500 W m−1 K−1 at room temperature; thus exceeding the thermal conductivity of diamond and promising a wide range of multi-functionality.
Well controlled and high quality CNT materials represent a manufacturing challenge.: chains break at the weakest link. Towards this goal, we are designing fault tolerant micro-architectured CNT yarns and sheets; and building specialized Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) equipment to synthesize them.