Tensile tests were performed on carbon nanofibers in situ a transmission electron microscope (TEM) using a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) tensile testing device. The carbon nanofibers tested in this study were produced via the electrospinning of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) into fibers, which are subsequently stabilized in an oxygen environment at 270 C and carbonized in nitrogen at 800 C. To investigate the relationship between the fiber molecular structure, diameter, and mechanical properties, nanofibers with diameters ranging from ∼100 to 300 nm were mounted onto a MEMS device using nanomanipulation inside the chamber of a Scanning Electron Microscope, and subsequently tested in tension in situ a TEM. The results show the dependence of strength and modulus on diameter, with a maximum modulus of 262 GPa and strength of 7.3 GPa measured for a 108 nm diameter fiber. In particular, through TEM evaluation of the structure of each individual nanofiber immediately prior to testing, we elucidate a dependence of mechanical properties on the molecular orientation of the graphitic structure: the strength and stiffness of the fibers increases with a higher degree of orientation of the 0 0 2 graphitic planes along the fiber axis, which coincides with decreasing fiber diameter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)