For nano-materials (in particular nano-carbons) one of the most attractive uses has been to fabricate polymer-based composites that are lightweight, but exhibit high-strength and high-modulus. While impressive properties for such composites have been found to date, one major drawback for commercial usage has been the high cost of nano-carbons. Some potential solutions to this issue have included, (i) improving the production methods to increase batch sizes/quality to drive down materials cost, as well as (ii) looking at alternative nano-carbons such as graphitic nano-platelets, which can be derived from cheaper carbon sources (i.e. graphite) as fillers. An alternative route to achieve nano-carbon polymer-based composites that are low-cost, lightweight, high-modulus, and high-strength, is to use the nano-fillers as templates to modify the thermoplastic micro-structures. It is well known that polymers can exhibit high-modulus (>100 GPa) and high-strength (>10 GPa) if the structure can be controlled. The work outlined in this talk shows that by using low volume percents of nano-carbons (i.e. less the 1 vol%) in the polymer, the micro-structure of the matrix can be modified around the nano-carbon to influence its intrinsic properties. It has been demonstrated that the modified-polymer properties are significantly higher than the bulk-polymer component. This method provides insight toward processing routes which can lead to structural control in the composite. This technology may enable the production of high-performance polymer-based composites which utilize low volumes of nano-carbons that are low-cost, and thereby attractive at the commercial scale.