Key factors limiting carbon nanotube yarn strength: Exploring processing-structure-property relationships

Allison M. Beese, Xiaoding Wei, Sourangsu Sarkar, Rajaprakash Ramachandramoorthy, Michael R. Roenbeck, Alexander Moravsky, Matthew Ford, Fazel Yavari, Denis T Keane, Raouf O. Loutfy, Son Binh T. Nguyen, Horacio D. Espinosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Studies of carbon nanotube (CNT) based composites have been unable to translate the extraordinary load-bearing capabilities of individual CNTs to macroscale composites such as yarns. A key challenge lies in the lack of understanding of how properties of filaments and interfaces across yarn hierarchical levels govern the properties of macroscale yarns. To provide insight required to enable the development of superior CNT yarns, we investigate the fabrication - structure - mechanical property relationships among CNT yarns prepared by different techniques and employ a Monte Carlo based model to predict upper bounds on their mechanical properties. We study the correlations between different levels of alignment and porosity and yarn strengths up to 2.4 GPa. The uniqueness of this experimentally informed modeling approach is the model's ability to predict when filament rupture or interface sliding dominates yarn failure based on constituent mechanical properties and structural organization observed experimentally. By capturing this transition and predicting the yarn strengths that could be obtained under ideal fabrication conditions, the model provides critical insights to guide future efforts to improve the mechanical performance of CNT yarn systems. This multifaceted study provides a new perspective on CNT yarn design that can serve as a foundation for the development of future composites that effectively exploit the superior mechanical performance of CNTs. (Chemical Equation Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11454-11466
Number of pages13
JournalACS nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 25 2014


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Hierarchical composites design
  • Multiscale Monte Carlo modeling
  • Processing-structure-property relationships
  • Yarn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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