Poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide)/single-walled carbon (PPTA/SWNT) composite fibres with different draw ratios have been spun using a dry-jet wet spinning process and their structure and deformation behaviour analysed using Raman spectroscopy. The dispersion of nanotube has been examined by Raman scattering intensity mapping along the fibre. The nanotubes improved the polymer orientation in composite fibre with a draw ratio of 2 but degraded the orientation at higher draw ratios. The mechanical reinforcing effect by nanotubes is related to the change of polymer orientation, suggesting a dominant role of polymer orientation in mechanical performance of the composite fibre. High efficiency of stress transfer within the strain range of 0-0.35\% and breakdown of the interface at higher strains has been found in the composite fibres through an in situ Raman spectroscopic study during fibre deformation. Cyclic loading applied on the fibre has indicated reversible deformation behaviour at low strain and gradual damage of the interface at high strains. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.