Predicted Confinement-Enhanced Stability and Extraordinary Mechanical Properties for Carbon Nanotube Wrapped Chains of Linear Carbon

EL Gao and RS Li and RH Baughman, ACS NANO, 14, 17071-17079 (2020).

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c06602

The demand for high-modulus, high-strength, lightweight materials has continuously driven the bottom-up assembly of carbon nanostructures into high-performance bulk carbon materials, such as graphene sheets and carbon nanotube yarns. Carbyne, often called linear carbon, has a higher predicted gravimetric modulus and gravimetric strength than any other form of carbon, but possibly reacts under near-ambient conditions because of the extended sp(1) hybridization. The successful fabrication of carbon nanotube wrapped single carbyne chain (Shi et al. Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 634) suggests the possibility of carbyne's bulk production. Herein, we designed a type of carbon assembly that includes a possibly large array of carbyne chains confined within a single-walled nanotube sheath (nanotube wrapped carbynes, NTWCs), in which carbyne chains act as reinforcing building blocks, and the carbon nanotube sheath protects the multiple carbyne chains against chemical or topochemical reaction. We showed that NTWCs exhibit confinement-enhanced stabilities, even when they contain multiple neighboring carbyne chains. We developed a mechanics model for exploring the mechanical properties of NTWCs. On the basis of this model, the gravimetric modulus (and strength) of NTWCs was predicted to increase from 356.4 (50.25) to 977.2 GPa.g(-)(1).cm(3) (71.20 GPa.g(-)(1).cm(3)) as the mass ratio of carbyne carbons to sheath carbons increases, which is supported by atomistic simulations. The highest calculated gravimetric modulus and strength of NTWCs are 174.2% and 41.7%, respectively, higher than those of either graphene or carbon nanotubes. The corresponding highest values of engineering modulus and strength of NTWCs with a density of 1.54 are 1505 and 109.6 GPa, respectively. Hence, NTWCs are promising for uses in high-modulus, high-strength, lightweight composites.

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