Difference Between Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes And Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Difference Between Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes And Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

July 23, 2018 Off By Techinstro

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been fundamental for various developments in our current technology ever since it discovered. Nanotechnology is one such field which had tremendous advances. The unique structure of carbon nanotube, combined with its unique mechanical and electrical properties makes it a ‘wonder material’ in the real sense.

Types of Carbon Nanotubes

There are mainly two types of carbon nanotubes that are in use today:

Single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)

A single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) is a seamless cylinder which consists of only one layer of graphene. It shows impressively unique electrical properties.

Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)

The multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) is also cylindrical in shape, with multiple concentric layers of graphene composing it. These are comparatively complex structure and variety.

Difference between SWCNT and MWCNT

These are the stark differences between single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) and multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT):


Single-walled carbon nanotubes are composed of a single layer of graphene which forms a cylindrical shape. It observed as two planes under a transmission electron microscope.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes made of multiple layers of graphene, which formed in a concentric pattern around the smallest nanotube.


Single-walled carbon nanotubes are allotrope of SP2 hybridized carbon, which is much similar to fullerenes. The structure forms six-atom carbon rings in a hexagonal shape, which is identical to that in graphite.

On the other hand, multi-walled carbon nanotubes involve several tubes which set in concentric layers in a cylindrical shape.


Research studies have proven that multi-walled carbon nanotubes are remarkably stronger than the impressively strong single-walled carbon nanotube.


It also shows that multi-walled carbon nanotubes are significantly better at working in the highly corrosive atmosphere. The MWCNTs show lowered loss or oxygen reduction when used as a catalyst for fuel cells as compared to SWCNT.