Fabrication and characterization of carbon nanotube turfs
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Carbon nanotube turfs are vertically aligned, slightly tortuous and entangled functional nanomaterials that exhibit high thermal and electrical properties. CNT turfs exhibit unique combinations of thermal and electrical conductivity, energy absorbing capability, low density and adhesive behavior. The objective of this study is to fabricate, measure, manipulate and characterize CNT turfs and thus determine the relationship between a turf's properties and its morphology, and provide guidance for developing links between turf growth conditions and of the subsequent turf properties. Nanoindentation was utilized to determine the mechanical and in situ electrical properties of CNT turfs. Elastic properties do not vary significantly laterally within a single turf , quantifying for the first time the ability to treat the turf as a mechanical continuum throughout. The use of the average mechanical properties for any given turf should be suitable for design purpose without the necessity of accounting for lateral spatial variation in structure. Properties variation based on time dependency, rate dependency, adhesive behavior and energy absorption and dissipation behavior have been investigated for these CNT turfs. Electrical properties measurements of CNT turfs have been carried out and show that a constant electrical current at a constant penetration depth indicates that a constant number of CNTs in contact with the tip; combining with the results that adhesive load increased with an increasing penetration hold time, thus we conclude that during a hold period of nanoindentation, individual tubes increase their individual attachment to the tip. CNT turfs show decreased adhesion and modulus after exposure to an electron beam due to carbon deposition and subsequent oxidation. To increase the modulus of the turf, axial compression and solvent capillary were used to increase the density of the turf by up to 15 times. Structure-property relationships were determined from the density and tortuosity measurements carried out through in situ electrical measurements and directionality measurements. Increasing density increases the mechanical properties as well as electrical conductivity. The modulus increased with a lower tortuosity, which may be related to the compressive buckling positioning.