Mechanical properties and fracture behaviors of multiwalled WS2 nanotubes produced by large scale fluidized bed method were investigated under uniaxial tension using in situ transmission electron microscopy probing; these were directly correlated to the nanotube atomic structures. The tubes with the average outer diameter similar to 40 nm sustained tensile force of similar to 2949 nN and revealed fracture strength of similar to 11.8 GPa. Surprisingly, these rather thick WS2 nanotubes could bear much higher loadings than the thin WS2 nanotubes with almost "defect-free" structures studied previously. In addition, the fracture strength of the "thick" nanotubes did not show common size dependent degradation when the tube diameters increased from similar to 20 to similar to 60 nm. HRTEM characterizations and real time observations revealed that the anomalous tensile properties are related to the intershell cross-linking and geometric constraints from the inverted cone-shaped tube cap structures, which resulted in the multishell loading and fracturing.
In this review, a non-standard application of high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM), namely the creation of so-called NanoLaboratory for the nanomaterial property studies within its pole piece, is presented. The most modern research trends with respect to nanotube, graphene and nanowire, as well as electrical, mechanical and electromechanical properties are demonstrated. In addition, the unique possibilities of modeling real technological processes inside HRTEM, for example, the performance of Li-ion batteries, are illustrated. The contribution particularly highlights the recent research endeavors of our Tsukuba group in line with all the above-mentioned directions of in situ TEM.