Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanotubes key to microscopic mechanics

Date:
October 25, 2011
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Researchers from Spain and Belgium report on the innovative use of carbon nanotubes to create mechanical components for use in a new generation of micro-machines. While the electronics industry has excelled in miniaturizing components, with individual elements approaching the nanoscale (or a billionth of a meter), reducing the size of mechanical systems has proved much more challenging.

In the latest issue of Elsevier's Materials Today, researchers from Spain and Belgium reported on the innovative use of carbon nanotubes to create mechanical components for use in a new generation of micro-machines. While the electronics industry has excelled in miniaturizing components, with individual elements approaching the nanoscale (or a billionth of a meter), reducing the size of mechanical systems has proved much more challenging.

Related Articles


One of the difficulties of shrinking mechanical devices is that the conventional techniques used to produce individual components are not useful when it comes to creating intricate shapes on the microscale. One promising technique is electrical discharge machining (EDM), which uses a spark of electricity to blast away the unwanted material to create complex shapes. However, this method requires that the target material is electrically conductive, limiting the use of EDM on hard, ceramic materials.

But now, by implanting carbon nanotubes in silicon nitride, the ceramic of choice, Manuel Belmonte and colleagues have been able to increase the electrical conductivity of the material by 13 orders of magnitude and have used EDM to produce a microgear without compromising the production time or integrity of the apparatus.

Carbon nanotubes rose to prominence in the early 1990s when their range of remarkable properties became apparent. These include phenomenal strength and electrical properties that can be tailored to suit. Each tube is made from a rolled up sheet of carbon atoms in a honeycomb-like structure. Unrolled, this sheet is also known as graphene, the innovative material which was the subject of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. Implanted inside a ceramic, these nanotubes form a conductive network that greatly reduces electrical resistance.

The electrical conductivity of the composite material is much higher, while the mechanical properties of the ceramic are preserved and wear resistance is significantly improved. As the corresponding author, Dr Manuel Belmonte, clarifies; this breakthrough will "allow the manufacture of intricate 3D components, widening the potential use of advanced ceramics and other insulating materials." The team hopes that such nanocomposite materials will find use in emerging applications, such as, microturbines, microreactors, and bioimplants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Olivier Malek, Jesús González-Julián, Jef Vleugels, Wouter Vanderauwera, Bert Lauwers, Manuel Belmonte. Carbon nanofillers for machining insulating ceramics. Materials Today, 2011; 14 (10): 496 DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70214-0

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Nanotubes key to microscopic mechanics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025113213.htm>.
Elsevier. (2011, October 25). Nanotubes key to microscopic mechanics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025113213.htm
Elsevier. "Nanotubes key to microscopic mechanics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025113213.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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