The assembly of one-dimensional nanomaterials into macroscopic fibers can improve mechanical as well as multifunctional performance. Double-walled aluminogermanate imogolite nanotubes are geo-inspired analogues of carbon nanotubes, synthesized at low temperature, with complementary properties. Here, continuous imogolite-based fibers are wet-spun within a poly(vinyl alcohol) matrix. The lyotropic liquid crystallinity of the system produces highly aligned fibers with tensile stiffness and strength up to 24.1 GPa (14.1 N tex–1) and 0.8 GPa (0.46 N tex–1), respectively. Significant enhancements over the pure polymer control are quantitatively attributed to both matrix refinement and direct nanoscale reinforcement, by fitting an analytical model. Most intriguingly, imogolite-based fibers show a high degree of healability via evaporation-induced self-assembly, recovering up to 44% and 19% of the original fiber tensile stiffness and strength, respectively. This recovery at high absolute strength highlights a general strategy for the development of high-performance healable fibers relevant to composite structures and other applications.
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- Department of Chemical Engineering - Lecturer
- Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT)
- Institute for Sustainability
- Centre for Bioengineering & Biomedical Technologies (CBio)
Person: Research & Teaching, Core staff, Researcher