Journal of Undergraduate Research


carbon nanotubes, surface functionalization strategy, fabrication


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering


The objective of this project was to create, characterize, and optimize carbon nanotube (CNT) films as a surface functionalization strategy through modifying the growth, infiltration, and patterning during fabrication.

Carbon nanotubes have drawn attention in various disciplines in the scientific community because of their incredible strength, hardness, wettability (hydrophobicity), as well as their kinetic and electrical properties. At BYU specifically, they are being used in diverse applications including fabrication of superhydrophobic surfaces and interdigitated electrode biosensors.

Carbon nanotubes can be delicate with a diameter of only a few nanometers when grown. However, the process of carbon infiltration can be used to layer amorphous carbon on existing nanotubes. As the tubes become thicker, the number of contact points between tubes increases, resulting in a composite, referred to as CICNTs (carbon-infiltrated carbon nanotubes) that is stronger and has a higher thermal and electrical conductivity than carbon nanotubes alone. CNT diameter, contact angle, and sliding angle were examined for varying levels of infiltration to optimize the resulting surfaces for use in condensation heat transfer, creation of anti-microbial surfaces, and other engineering applications.