Densification of Carbon Nanotubes via Uniaxial Shrinking

Kim, Joshua ;   Khine, Michelle

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have become a widely studied nanoscale material ever since their discovery in 1991, and have been implemented in many devices including strain sensors, chemical sensors, and batteries. The reason for the widespread use of CNTs is mainly due to its robust mechanical properties and high conductivity. However, current processing of CNTs pose great limitations on certain applications that require low temperatures, flexible plastic substrates, high densities, and alignment using cost effective methods. To address these problems many methods have been proposed to process CNTs for fabricating functional devices including the Langmuir-Blodgett method and spin-coating. However, none of these offer cost-effective and quick methods to densify CNTs. Here we demonstrate cost-effective methods to densify and align CNTs to improve its conductivity using heat shrink technology. Similarly, we aim to use polyolefin, a chemically resistant shape memory polymer, to densify and align carbon nanotubes using a heat shrink process. This process would be extremely cost-effective and quick compared to previously demonstrated methods.