Efficient assembly of carbon nanotube (CNT) based cellular solids with appropriate structure is the key to fully realize the potential of individual nanotubes in macroscopic architecture. In this work, the macroscopic CNT sponge consisting of randomly interconnected individual carbon nanotubes was grown by CVD, exhibiting a combination of super-elasticity, high strength to weight ratio, fatigue resistance, thermo-mechanical stability and electro-mechanical stability. To deeply understand such extraordinary mechanical performance compared to that of conventional cellular materials and other nanostructured cellular architectures, a thorough study on the response of this CNT-based spongy structure to compression is conducted based on classic elastic theory. The strong inter-tube bonding between neighboring nanotubes is examined, believed to play a critical role in the reversible deformation such as bending and buckling without structural collapse under compression. Based on in-situ scanning electron microscopy observation and nanotube deformation analysis, structural evolution (completely elastic bending-buckling transition) of the carbon nanotubes sponges to deformation is proposed to clarify their mechanical properties and nonlinear electromechanical coupling behavior.
This project was jointly supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (Grant Nos. 2012CB937503 and 2013CB934203) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51173030, 11225210, 21474023 and 11222217).
[Dai, Zhaohe; Liu, Luqi; Qi, Xiaoying; Kuang, Jun; Zhang, Zhong] Natl Ctr Nanosci & Technol, CAS Key Lab Nanosyst & Hierach Fabricat, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Zhu, Hongwei; Zhang, Zhong] Tsinghua Univ, CNMM, Beijing 100084, Peoples R China; [Dai, Zhaohe; Wei, Yueguang] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Mech, State Key Lab Nonlinear Mech, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Zhang, Zhong] Univ Sci & Technol China, Dept Modern Mech, CAS Key Lab Mech Behav & Design Mat, Hefei 230027, Anhui, Peoples R China; [Dai, Zhaohe] Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China