Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UNC-CH Study Shows Carbon Nanotubes Display Remarkable Strength, Flexibility

Date:
October 9, 1997
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
Carbon tubes so thin it would take several million lying side by side to cover an inch show such remarkable flexibility, strength and resiliency that industry should be able to incorporate them into high performance sports and aerospace materials, according to new experiments.

CHAPEL HILL -- Carbon tubes so thin it would take several million lyingside by side to cover an inch show such remarkable flexibility, strength andresiliency that industry should be able to incorporate them into highperformance sports and aerospace materials, according to new experiments. Manyother products also could be made stronger and possibly safer, scientistsbelieve.

The research, conducted at the University of North Carolina at ChapelHill, for the first time used a unique computer-linked microscope to bend andrecord properties of carbon nanotubes.

Researchers create the materials -- a form of soot -- by arcingelectricity between two sticks of carbon. About six years ago, Japanesescientist Sumio Iijima discovered the tiny tubes, which are proving to bestiffer and stronger than any other known substance.

"Carbon nanotubes are a new material that scientists around the worldhave been studying intensively," said Michael R. Falvo of UNC-CH. "What we havefound is that under large strains, they have the extraordinary property of beingone of the stiffest materials known, while also being able to bend withoutbreaking and then be bent back into their original shape. This is unique."

Falvo is a doctoral student working under the direction of Dr. RichardSuperfine, assistant professor of physics and astronomy.

A report on the research appears as the cover story in Thursday's issue(Oct 9) of the journal Nature. Besides Falvo and Superfine, authors of thereport are graduate student Gregory J. Clary; Russell M. Taylor II, researchassistant professor of computer science; Vernon Chi, director of themicroelectronics systems laboratory; Dr. Frederick P. Brooks Jr., Kenanprofessor of computer science; and Dr. Sean Washburn, professor of physics andastronomy.

The UNC-CH scientists used a device they invented and called thenanoManipulator to bend the nanotubes, which are extremely light, and thenmeasure the curvature of the bends. They also studied the tubes' bucklingbehavior -- whether or not they buckled under pressure like drinking straws in achild's hands and stayed bent and damaged.

"We found that most of the bending was reversible, and that's excitingbecause it was not known before," Falvo said. "Even after repeated bending andstraightening of the nanotubes, they did not break. In fact, we have neverobserved a tube fail after repeated bending."

The unique nanoManipulator combines a commercially available atomicforce microscope with a force-feedback virtual reality system. The formeremploys an atomically small probe capable of bending and otherwise manipulatingmolecule-sized particles. The latter allows the scientists to see and feel arepresentation of the surface a million times bigger than its actual size.

Carbon fibers already are used in graphite composite tennis rackets andother products because of their strength and lightness, Falvo said. The UNC-CHexperiments indicate that carbon nanotubes are significantly stronger thancarbon fibers and hundreds of times stronger than steel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "UNC-CH Study Shows Carbon Nanotubes Display Remarkable Strength, Flexibility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971009063549.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (1997, October 9). UNC-CH Study Shows Carbon Nanotubes Display Remarkable Strength, Flexibility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971009063549.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "UNC-CH Study Shows Carbon Nanotubes Display Remarkable Strength, Flexibility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971009063549.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins