German-Austrian-French research team uses a hundred-nanometre wide x-ray beam to observe how nanolayers buckle in bent high-tech carbon fibres
An x-ray beam just 100 nanometres in width functions as a "nano-magnifier" to explore, in detail, defects and changes in carbon fibres. Image: Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, working together with colleagues from the University of Vienna and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France have made the first-ever observations of nanocrystallite buckling in carbon fibres. The results indicate that missing cross-links between the individual carbon layers are responsible for the buckling. (Physical Review Letters, November 25, 2005). Such a finding has implications for the way high-tech carbon materials are produced.
High-strength, ultra-light and elastic carbon materials are commonly used in high-performance sports goods and modern aerospace technology - for example in tennis rackets, racing tyres, heat shields and even guitars. Carbon fibres are only a few micrometres thick and mainly used to mechanically reinforce other materials, like polymers, metals, and ceramics. In tension, these kinds of fibres are stronger than most other known materials. However, compression applied parallel to the fibre axis can cause the buckling of nanoscale carbon layers - comparable to the buckling of a long, thin rod under compressive load.
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