We report on the enhancement of the mechanical properties of single wall carbon nanotube (SWNT)-polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) composites through functionalization of SWNTs with denatured collagen. In addition to improving compatibility with the matrix, the denatured collagen layer was found to increase the PVA matrix crystallinity, which results in a dramatic enhancement of the Young’s modulus (260%), tensile strength (300%), and toughness (700%) well above what can be expected with the classical rule of mixture. A supramolecular organization at the interface is associated with an increase of PVA crystallinity as shown by the x-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry.

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