Stirring research provides recipe for nanotube success

If manufacturing is entering the “Golden Age” of nanotechnology, then carbon nanotubes are the “Golden Child.” In recent years, these tubes of graphite many times thinner than a human hair have become a much-touted emerging technology because of their potential ability to add strength and other important properties to materials.

Adding carbon nanotubes to plastics and other polymers has potential to make automobile and airplane bodies stronger and lighter, and textiles more tear-resistant. And because of their electrical properties, carbon nanotubes also may be used to embed sensors in clothing for military and medical applications. By one estimate, the carbon nanotube market valued at approximately $12 million in 2002 could grow to $700 million by 2005.

One problem, however, is the nanotubes tend to clump together in certain applications. Just as an oil and water salad dressing must be shaken thoroughly to mix well, carbon nanotube formulations must be thoroughly blended to perform their best.

In a set of experiments reported in the Jan. 30 issue of Physical Review Letters, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have started to quantify both the problem and the solution. The scientists used a microscope and an “optical flow cell” to measure the force needed to mix different concentrations of nanotubes. Their findings suggest that flow conditions often encountered in the processing of carbon nanotube suspensions can actually have the opposite effect, leading to demixing. The effect is related directly to the long fiber-like structure of the nanotubes. Although this work only sets the stage for resolving what will be an important technological issue, the findings give researchers insight into how to process nanotubes more efficiently.

Media Contact

Scott Nance EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.nist.gov/

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Materials Sciences

Materials management deals with the research, development, manufacturing and processing of raw and industrial materials. Key aspects here are biological and medical issues, which play an increasingly important role in this field.

innovations-report offers in-depth articles related to the development and application of materials and the structure and properties of new materials.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Microscopy beyond the resolution limit

The Polish-Israeli team from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw and the Weizmann Institute of Science has made another significant achievement in fluorescent microscopy. In the pages…

Material found in house paint may spur technology revolution

Sandia developed new device to more efficiently process information. The development of a new method to make non-volatile computer memory may have unlocked a problem that has been holding back…

Immune protein orchestrates daily rhythm of squid-bacteria symbiotic relationship

Nearly every organism hosts a collection of symbiotic microbes–a microbiome. It is now recognized that microbiomes are major drivers of health in all animals, including humans, and that these symbiotic…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close