The future development of polymer composite materials with nanotubes or nanoscale fibers requires the ability to understand and improve the interfacial bonding at the nanotube-polymer matrix interface. In recent work [Strus MC, Zalamea L, Raman A, Pipes RB, Nguyen CV, Stach EA. Peeling force spectroscopy: exposing the adhesive nanomechanics of one-dimensional nanostructures. Nano Lett 2008;8(2):544–50], it has been shown that a new mode in the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), peeling force spectroscopy, can be used to understand the adhesive mechanics of carbon nanotubes peeled from a surface. In the present work, we demonstrate how AFM peeling force spectroscopy can be used to distinguish between elastic and interfacial components during a nanoscale peel test, thus enabling the direct measurement of interfacial energy between an individual nanotube or nanofiber and a given material surface. The proposed method provides a convenient experimental framework to quickly screen different combinations of polymers and functionalized nanotubes for optimal interfacial strength.
nanoscale peeling, carbon nanotubes, polymer nanocomposites, interfacial fracture energy, atomic force microscope, surface energy
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