On the Breaking of Carbon Nanotubes under Tension

Nano Letters 4, 811 - 815 (2004)

On the Breaking of Carbon Nanotubes under Tension

M. A. L. Marques, H. E. Troiani, M. Miki-Yoshida, M. Jose-Yacaman, A. Rubio

Molecular dynamics simulations and high resolution TEM experiments are performed to assess the fracture of nanotubes under high stretching conditions. Brittle or plastic response is controlled by the rate of applied strain to the tube as well as by the number of defects (in particular vacancies). Simulations predict that under high temperatures and presence of defects (as induced under the high-energy electron beam of the TEM) the tubes exhibit mainly plastic deformation, with the appearance of medium size carbon chains as the latest stage before fracture. These results are in agreement with in-situ TEM observation. Carbon exhibits a very rich dynamics of bond-breaking and bond-reconstruction that allows transformations from fullerenes to tubes to chains.

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