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Carbon nanotube

Carbon nanotubes

Carbon nanotube has been widely investigated and perceived as having great potential in nanomechanical and nanoelectronic devices due to uniqe combination of mechanical, electrical and chemical properties. The carbon nanotubes may be applied (a) as light-weight structural materials with extraordinary mechanical properties such as stiffness and strength; (b) in nano-electronic components as the next-generation of semi-conductors and nanowires; (c) as probes in scanning probe microscopy and atomic force microscopy with the added advantage of a chemically-functionalized tip; (d) as high-sensitivity microbalances; (e) as gas and molecule sensors; (f) in hydrogen storage devices thanks to its high surface-volume ratio; (g) as field-emission type displays; (h) as electrodes in organic light-emitting diodes and (i) as tiny tweezers for nanoscale manipulation, to name a few.

As a postdoc in Xi Chen's group, my current research in the mechanics of carbon nanotubes concentrates in the following areas: a) thermal vibration and application as strain/mass/specie sensors; b) buckling of nanotubes caused by compression, bending, torsion, and indentation; c) mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes in axial and radial directions, and effective continuum modeling; d) fluid conduction in nanotubes. I have published 14 journal papers since 2005 in these areas. I will introduce more details in my blog later.

Teng Li's picture

Strength map of carbon nanotube



In theory, carbon nanotubes are 100 times stronger than steel at one-sixth the weight, but in practice, scientists have struggled make nanotubes that live up to those predictions. This is partly because there are still many unanswered questions about how nanotubes break and under what conditions.

Recently, Prof. Boris I. Yakobson at Rice University, his former postdoc Traian Dumitrica (now assistant professor at University of Minnesota), and his doctoral student Ming Hua, have developed a new computer modeling approach to create a “strength map” that plots the likelihood or probability that a carbon nanotube will break—and how it’s likely to break. Four critical variables are considered in the model: load level, load duration, temperature, and chirality. This work was published in the Proceedings of the National Adacemy of Sciences (Apr. 18, 2006 Cover feature). Full text pdf file of this paper is available here.


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