Interfacial energy between carbon nanotubes and polymers measured from nanoscale peel tests in the atomic force microscope
Date of this Version3-6-2009
This document has been peer-reviewed.
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.