Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) prepared by the HiPco process were purified using a modified gas phase purification technique. A TEM-STM holder was used to study the morphological changes of SWCNT ropes as a function of applied voltage. Kink formation, buckling behavior, tubular transformation and eventual breakdown of the system were observed. The tubular formation was attributed to a transformation from SWCNT ropes to multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) structures. It is likely mediated by the patching and tearing mechanism which is promoted primarily by the mobile vacancies generated due to current-induced heating and, to some extent, by electron irradiation.