Mechanical properties of carbon nanotube paper in ionic liquid and aqueous electrolytes
Porous mats of carbon nanotubes, referred to as bucky paper, are becoming a viable engineering material, especially as electrodes in numerous types of electrochemical cells. The tensile strength of bucky paper was measured in the dry atmospheric condition, and the wet conditions of both water and 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium tetrafluoroborate, an ionic liquid. The two different liquids have a significant impact on the mechanical properties of bucky paper, even when they are not known for readily wetting the nanotubes. It is shown that capillary forces contribute to the mechanical properties of bucky paper. It is also shown that there is a strong interaction between ionic liquid and carbon nanotubes.