There is nothing new about combining two materials to make a composite material with more desirable properties than the originals. Fibreglass has been a mainstay of the marine industry for decades and the construction industry is built on reinforced concrete.
Now carbon nanotubes (CNT) are getting in on the act with nanotechnologists working out how to grow nanotube reinforcements for polymers in an ideal manner.
Researchers from Trinity College have developed a scalable inexpensive technique to grow grid patterns of nanotube arrays. To maximise the effect of CNT reinforcement on a polymer thin film, while minimizing nanotube content, a controllable way of varying the volume fraction of CNTs within the composite is needed. In order to do this, the inter-grid spacing can be tailored as required giving a simple method of controlling the volume fraction of nanotubes grown on substrates.
The research work by Werner J. Blau, Dr. Emer Lahiff, Andrew I. Minett and Dr. Kentaro Nakajima is expected to lead to incorporation of CNTs in polymer matrices within flat panel displays, sensors, flexible electronic devices and actuators.
The study has been published in a special edition of the open access journal, AZoJono. This special edition of AZoJono features a number of papers from DESYGN-IT, the project seeking to secure Europe as the international scientific leader in the design, synthesis, growth, characterisation and application of nanotubes, nanowires and nanotube arrays for industrial technology.
The article is available to view in full at http://www.azonano.com/Details.asp?ArticleID=2040
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