Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are extremely conductive and flexible, making them ideal for applications such as flexible electronics and nanoelectromechanical systems. However, in order to properly apply them in such devices, their long-term durability must be assessed. In the present study, we demonstrate cyclic loading of a thick MWCNT (175 nm) under axial compression, observed in situ under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The force was applied via controlled displacement, while real-time TEM videos of the deformation process were gathered to produce the morphological data. The in situ observations combined with force–displacement curves revealed the onset of buckling instabilities, and the elastic limits of the tube were assessed. The MWCNT retained its original structure even after 68 loading–unloading cycles, despite observed clues for structural distortions. The stiffness of the tube, calculated after each loading cycle, was in a 0.15 to 0.28 TPa range—comparable to the literature, which further validates the measurement set-up. These in situ tests demonstrate the resilience of CNTs to fatigue which can be correlated with the CNTs’ structure. Such correlations can help tailoring CNTs’ properties to specific applications.
|State||Published - Jan 2023|
- carbon nanotubes
- in situ deformation
- transmission electron microscope