A unique nanoheterostructure, a boron-filled hybrid carbon nanotube (BHCNT), has been synthesized using a one-step chemical vapor deposition process. The BHCNTs can be considered to be a novel form of boron carbide consisting of boron doped, distorted multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) encapsulating boron nanowires. These MWCNTs were found to be insulating in spite of their graphitic layered outer structures. While conventional MWCNTs have great axial strength, they have weak radial compressive strength, and do not bond well to one another or to other materials. In contrast, BHCNTs are shown to be up to 31% stiffer and 233% stronger than conventional MWCNTs in radial compression and have excellent mechanical properties at elevated temperatures. The corrugated surface of BHCNTs enables them to bond easily to themselves and other materials, in contrast to carbon nanotubes (CNTs). BHCNTs can, therefore, be used to make nanocomposites, nanopaper sheets, and bundles that are stronger than those made with CNTs.
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