Abstract Molecular dynamics simulations of carbon nanotube (NT) pull-out from a polymer matrix are carried out. As the NT pull-out develops, variations in the displacement and velocities of the NT are monitored. The existence of a carbon-ring-based period in NT sliding during pull-out is identified. Linear trends in the NT velocity–force relation are observed and used to estimate an effective viscosity coefficient for interfacial sliding at the NT/polymer interface. As a result, the entire process of NT pull-out is characterized by an interfacial friction model that is based on a critical pull-out force, and an analog of Newton’s friction law used to describe the NT/polymer interfacial sliding.