Sharali Malik, Institute of Nanotechnology (INT), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), D-76131 Karlsruhe, Germany. Yoshihiro Nemoto, Guo Hongxuan, Ariga Katsuhiko and Jonathan P. Hill, WPI-Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Namiki 1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0044, Japan.
Branched-Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (b-MWCNTs) are an exotic type of carbon nanotube whose technological potential has not yet been fully explored. Although MWCNTs have been used to improve the properties of composite materials, there are currently still two main problems remain to be solved before MWCNT/composite materials can realize their full potential:-
(1) adequate dispersion of the nanotube-reinforcement material, and
(2) strong enough interfacial bonding between the nanotube-reinforcement elements and the composite matrix.
These problems can be addressed by utilizing branched-MWNTs as it is known (from theory and simulation experiments) that branched fibres greatly enhance interfacial bonding e.g. the ancient process of adding straw to mud to make stronger bricks. In addition, it is well known that in carbon nanotube networks the junction resistance is the dominant limiting factor. However, a network of branched CNTs will significantly reduce network resistance. Therefore, in addition to the composite applications, the electrical properties of networks made of branched tubes would have major benefits to Solar Cell and Li-Ion battery design, development and production.