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.

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 July 25, 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
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