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Nanoscale. 2013 Mar 21;5(6):2403-10. doi: 10.1039/c3nr33633f.

Elastic carbon nanotube straight yarns embedded with helical loops.

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  • 1Centre for Composite Materials and Structures, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150080, P. R. China.


Introducing stretchability and elasticity into carbon nanotube (CNT) yarns could extend their applications to areas such as stretchable and deformable fiber-based devices and strain sensors. Here, we convert a straight and inelastic yarn into a highly elastic structure by spinning a predefined number of helical loops along the yarn, resulting in a short helical segment with smooth structural transition to the straight portions. The loop-forming process is well controlled, and the obtained straight-helical-straight hybrid yarn is freestanding, stable, and based entirely on CNTs. The elastic and conductive yarns can be stretched to moderate tensile strains (up to 25%) repeatedly for 1000 cycles without producing residual deformation, with a simultaneous and linear change of electrical resistance depending on the strain. Our results indicate that conventional straight CNT yarns could be used as fiber-shaped strain sensors by simple structural modification.

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