Properties and Applications of Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon nanotube technology can be used for a wide range of new and existing applications:

  • Micro- and nano-electronics
  • Structural composite materials
  • Flat-panel displays
  • Conductive plastics
  • Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) tips
  • Ultra-capacitors
  • Radar-absorbing coating
  • Technical textiles
  • Gas storage
  • Power applications (e.g. batteries with improved lifetime, photovoltaic applications)
  • Sensors and Biosensors
  • Extra strong fibers

Overall, carbon nanotubes show aunique combination of stiffness, strength, and tenacity compared to other fiber materials which usually lack one or more of these properties. Thermal and electrical conductivity are also very high and are comparable to other conductive materials.

The intrinsic mechanical and transport properties of carbon nanotubes make them the ultimate carbon fibers. The following tables (Table 1 and Table 2) compare these properties to other engineering materials.

Table 1. Mechanical Properties of Engineering Fibers

Fiber Material

Specific Density

E (TPa)

Strength (GPa)

Strain at Break (%)

Carbon Nanotube

1.3 - 2

1

10 - 60

10

HS Steel

7.8

0.2

4.1

< 10

Carbon Fiber - PAN

1.7 - 2

0.2 - 0.6

1.7 - 5

0.3 - 2.4

Carbon Fiber - Pitch

2 - 2.2

0.4 - 0.96

2.2 - 3.3

0.27 - 0.6

E/S - glass

2.5

0.07 / 0.08

2.4 / 4.5

4.8

Kevlar* 49

1.4

0.13

3.6 - 4.1

2.8

* Kevlar is a registered trademark of DuPont.

Table 2. Transport Properties of Conductive Materials

Material

Thermal Conductivity (W/m.k)

Electrical Conductivity

Carbon Nanotubes

> 3000

106 - 107

Copper

400

6 x 107

Carbon Fiber - Pitch

1000

2 - 8.5 x 106

Carbon Fiber - PAN

8 - 105

6.5 - 14 x 106

 

Characterization of MWCNTs

CNT Synthesis Brochure

Growth of MWNT by Injection CVD