Packing morphology of wavy nanofiber arrays†
Existing theories for quantifying the morphology of nanofibers (NFs) in aligned arrays either neglect or assume a simple functional form for the curvature of the NFs, commonly known as the NF waviness. However, since such assumptions cannot adequately describe the waviness of real NFs, errors that can exceed 10% in the predicted inter-NF separation can result. Here we use a theoretical framework capable of simulating >105 NFs with stochastic three-dimensional morphologies to quantify NF waviness on an easily accessible measure of the morphology, the inter-NF spacing, for a range of NF volume fractions. The presented scaling of inter-NF spacing with waviness is then used to study the morphology evolution of aligned carbon nanotube (A-CNT) arrays during packing, showing that the effective two-dimensional coordination number of the A-CNTs increases much faster than previously reported during close packing, and that hexagonal close packing can successfully describe the packing morphology of the A-CNTs at volume fractions greater than 40 vol%.