Reinforced carbon nanotubes as electrically conducting and flexible films for space applications

Nurit Atar*, Eitan Grossman, Irina Gouzman, Asaf Bolker, Yael Hanein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-grown entangled carbon nanotube (CNT) sheets are characterized by high electrical conductivity and durability to bending and folding. However, since freestanding CNT sheets are mechanically weak, they cannot be used as stand-alone flexible films. In this work, polyimide (PI) infiltration into entangled cup-stacked CNT (CSCNT) sheets was studied to form electrically conducting, robust, and flexible films for space applications. The infiltration process preserved CNTs' advantageous properties (i.e., conductivity and flexibility), prevented CNT agglomeration, and enabled CNT patterning. In particular, the CNT-PI films exhibited ohmic electrical conductance in both the lateral and vertical directions, with a sheet resistivity as low as 122 Ω/□, similar to that of as-grown CNT sheets, with minimal effect of the insulating matrix. Moreover, this high conductivity was preserved under mechanical and thermal manipulations. These properties make the reported CNT-PI films excellent candidates for applications where flexibility, thermal stability, and electrical conductivity are required. Particularly, the developed CNT-PI films were found to be durable in space environment hazards such as high vacuum, thermal cycling, and ionizing radiation, and hence they are suggested as an alternative for the electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection layer in spacecraft thermal blankets. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20400-20407
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number22
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2014


  • CNT sheets
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Nanocomposites
  • Polyimide
  • Space environment


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