Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




David E. Kranbuehl

Committee Members

Christopher J. Abelt

Tyler K. Meldrum

Hannes C. Schniepp


Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT’s) and their use in a BNNT nano-composite have been the focus of an increasing number of studies due to their theorized high thermal conducitivty (3,000 W(m•K-1)) as well as high thermal stability. One of our hopes is to integrate BNNT’s into polymer composites to transfer their strength and thermal conductivity into said composites. However, there is little information on boron nitride interfacial forces with different composite polymer resins. Here, we chose to look at nanoscale interfacial forces by functionalizing an Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) probe cantilever with a silica bead and then attaching boron nitride to the bare silica bead. We report results of the hBN probe having the strongest interactions in this order: PVA > PS > PMMA, with overall pull-off forces being three times as strong as snap-down forces for all polymers. Our results are very encouraging in suggesting that along with PS, a BNNT nano-composite with PVA should demonstrate significantly improved structural and thermal transfer properties.