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May 28th, 2011
While carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (CNF) are both hollow, nanometerals in scale, and produced in a similar manner, there are distinct differences which significantly impact their performance and ability to be processed. The primary differences between the materials are morphology, size, ease of processing, and price.
Carbon nanofibers, also known as Stacked-Cup Carbon Nanotubes, have a unique morphology in that graphene planes are canted from the fiber axis, resulting in exposed edge planes on the interior and exterior surfaces of the fiber. CNTs, on the other hand, typically resemble an assembly of concentric cylinders of graphene. To illustrate the difference in morphology, Figure 1 below shows a side by side comparison of A) Multi-walled carbon nanotubes and B) stacked cup carbon nanotubes.
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