Raman Spectroscopic Studies of Carbon Nanotube Composite Fibres

  • Libo Deng

Student thesis: Phd


The project has been concerned with structure/property relationships in a series of different carbon nanotube (CNT) composite fibres. Raman spectroscopy has been proved to be a powerful technique to characterise the CNT-containing fibres. Electrospinning has been used to prepare poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) nanofibres containing single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). The effect of the processing conditions including the polymer concentration, electric voltage, tip-to-collector distance, nanotube concentration and the collection method upon the morphology, diameter and the alignment of the fibres have been investigated.Raman spectroscopy of individual SWNTs dispersed in PVA electrospun fibres have been studied systematically in terms of the Raman band frequency, intensity and linewidth. The G'-band shift per unit strain during tensile deformation has been found to be dependent on the nanotube chirality. A detailed study has been undertaken of the efficiency of reinforcement in PVA/SWNT nanocomposites. The stress-induced Raman band shifts in the nanocomposites have been shown to be controlled by both geometric factors such as the angles between the nanotube axis, the stressing direction and the direction of laser polarisation, and by finite length effects and bundling. A theory has been developed that takes into account all of these factors and enables the behavior of the different forms of nanocomposite, both fibres and films, to be compared.The effects of dispersion and orientation of nanotubes and the interfacial adhesion on mechanical properties of poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA)/SWNTs composite fibres have been investigated. It has been shown the change of orientation of the polymer molecules upon incorporating nanotubes had direct effect on mechanical properties of the PPTA fibres. An in-situ Raman spectroscopy study during fibre deformation has revealed good stress transfer from the matrix to nanotubes in low strain range, and the interface failed when the strain exceeded 0.5%.Raman spectroscopy has also been employed to investigate the microstructure and micromechanical process of neat carbon nanotube (CNT) fibres. It has been found the fibres consisted of both SWNTs and MWNTs and varied in composition at different locations. High efficiency of stress transfer both within the fibre and in composites has been observed, suggesting the promising potential of CNT fibres in reinforcing polymers.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRobert Young (Supervisor)


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Raman spectroscopy

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