The deformation mechanism and mechanical properties of carbon nanotube (CNT) forests conformally coated with alumina using atomic layer deposition (ALD) are investigated using in situ and ex situ micro-indentation. While micro-indentation of a CNT forest coated with a thin discontinuous layer using 20 ALD cycles results in a deformation response similar to the response of uncoated CNT forests, a similar test on a CNT forest coated with a sufficiently thick and continuous layer using 100 ALD cycles causes fracture of both the alumina coatings and the core CNTs. With a 10 nm coating, 4-fold and 14-fold stiffness increases are measured using a flat punch and a Berkovich tip, respectively. Indentation testing with the Berkovich tip also reveals increased recoverability at relatively low strains. The results show that ALD coated CNT forests could be useful for applications that require higher stiffness or recoverability. Also, fracturing of the nanotubes shows that upper limits exist in the loading of conformally coated CNT forests.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering