In situ scanning electron microscope peeling to quantify surface energy between multiwalled carbon nanotubes and graphene. Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding atomic interactions between constituents is critical to the design of high-performance nanocomposites. Here, we report an experimental-computational approach to investigate the adhesion energy between as-produced arc discharge multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and graphene. An in situ scanning electron microscope (SEM) experiment is used to peel MWCNTs from graphene grown on copper foils. The force during peeling is obtained by monitoring the deflection of a cantilever. Finite element and molecular mechanics simulations are performed to assist the data analysis and interpretation of the results. A finite element analysis of the experimental configuration is employed to confirm the applicability of Kendall's peeling model to obtain the adhesion energy. Molecular mechanics simulations are used to estimate the effective contact width at the MWCNT-graphene interface. The measured surface energy is = 0.20 0.09 Jm(-2) or = 0.36 0.16 Jm(-2), depending on the assumed conformation of the tube cross section during peeling. The scatter in the data is believed to result from an amorphous carbon coating on the MWCNTs, observed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the surface roughness of graphene as characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM).

published proceedings

  • ACS Nano

altmetric score

  • 7.864

author list (cited authors)

  • Roenbeck, M. R., Wei, X., Beese, A. M., Naraghi, M., Furmanchuk, A., Paci, J. T., Schatz, G. C., & Espinosa, H. D.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Roenbeck, Michael R||Wei, Xiaoding||Beese, Allison M||Naraghi, Mohammad||Furmanchuk, Al'ona||Paci, Jeffrey T||Schatz, George C||Espinosa, Horacio D

publication date

  • January 2014