Physical interactions at carbon nanotube-polymer interface

M. Wong, M. Paramsothy, X. J. Xu, Y. Ren, S. Li, K. Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

427 Scopus citations


Mechanical properties of carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced polystyrene rod and CNT reinforced epoxy thin film were studied and the CNT-polymer interface in these composites was examined. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy examinations of CNT/polystyrene (PS) and CNT/epoxy composite showed that these polymers adhered well to CNT at the nanometer scale. Molecular mechanics simulations and elasticity calculations were used to quantify some of the important interfacial characteristics that critically control the performance of a composite material. In the absence of chemical bonding between CNT and the matrix, it is found that the non-bond interactions, consist of electrostatic and van der Waals forces, result in CNT-polymer interfacial shear stress (at 0 K) of about 138 and 186 MPa, respectively, for CNT/epoxy and CNT/PS. The high interfacial shear stress calculated, about an order of magnitude higher than micro fiber reinforced composites, is believed attributed to intimate contact between the two solid phases at the molecular scale. Simulations and calculations also showed that local non-uniformity of CNT and mismatch of the coefficients of thermal expansions between CNT and polymer matrix also promote the stress transfer ability between the two.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)7757-7764
Number of pages8
Issue number25
StatePublished - 14 Nov 2003


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Interface
  • Polymer composites


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical interactions at carbon nanotube-polymer interface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this