The effect of nanofiber proximity on the mechanical behavior of nanofiber arrays with volume fractions (Vf) from 1% to 20% was quantified via nanoindentation of an aligned carbon nanotube (A-CNT) array. The experimental results show that the indentation modulus for A-CNT arrays has a highly non-linear scaling with the CNT Vf, leading to modulus enhancements of up to ∼600× at Vf = 20%. Modeling illustrates that the origin of the highly non-linear trend with Vf is due to the minimum inter-CNT spacing, which is shown to be more than an order of magnitude larger than the graphitic spacing.

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