Carbon nanotube(Not to be confused with Carbon fiber.)
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure. Nanotubes have been constructed with length-to-diameter ratio of up to 132,000,000:1,significantly larger than for any other material. These cylindrical carbon molecules have unusual properties, which are valuable for nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science and technology. In particular, owing to their extraordinary thermal conductivity and mechanical and electrical properties, carbon nanotubes find applications as additives to various structural materials. For instance, in (primarily carbon fiber) "baseball bats, car parts" and even "golf clubs" , where nanotubes form only a tiny portion of the material(s).
Nanotubes are members of the fullerene structural family, which also includes the spherical buckyballs, and the ends of a nanotube may be capped with a hemisphere of the buckyball structure. Their name is derived from their long, hollow structure with the walls formed by one-atom-thick sheets of carbon, called graphene. These sheets are rolled at specific and discrete ("chiral") angles, and the combination of the rolling angle and radius decides the nanotube properties; for example, whether the individual nanotube shell is a metal or semiconductor. Nanotubes are categorized as single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) and multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs). Individual nanotubes naturally align themselves into "ropes" held together by van der Waals forces, more specifically, pi-stacking.
Applied quantum chemistry, specifically, orbital hybridization best describes chemical bonding in nanotubes. The chemical bonding of nanotubes is composed entirely of sp2 bonds, similar to those of graphite. These bonds, which are stronger than the sp3 bonds found in alkanes, provide nanotubules with their unique strength.
Carbon nanotubes are the strongest and stiffest materials yet discovered in terms of tensile strength and elastic modulus respectively. This strength results from the covalent sp2 bonds formed between the individual carbon atoms. In 2000, a multi-walled carbon nanotube was tested to have a tensile strength of 63 gigapascals (GPa). (For illustration, this translates into the ability to endure tension of a weight equivalent to 6422 kg on a cable with cross-section of 1 mm2.) Further studies, conducted in 2008, revealed that individual CNT shells have strengths of up to ~100 GPa, which is in good agreement with quantum/atomistic models. Since carbon nanotubes have a low density for a solid of 1.3 to 1.4 g/cm3,its specific strength of up to 48,000 kNâ€¢mâ€¢kg−1 is the best of known materials, compared to high-carbon steel's 154 kNâ€¢mâ€¢kg−1.
Under excessive tensile strain, the tubes will undergo plastic deformation, which means the deformation is permanent. This deformation begins at strains of approximately 5% and can increase the maximum strain the tubes undergo before fracture by releasing strain energy.
Although the strength of individual CNT shells is extremely high, weak shear interactions between adjacent shells and tubes leads to significant reductions in the effective strength of multi-walled carbon nanotubes and carbon nanotube bundles down to only a few GPaâ€™s.This limitation has been recently addressed by applying high-energy electron irradiation, which crosslinks inner shells and tubes, and effectively increases the strength of these materials to ~60 GPa for multi-walled carbon nanotubes and ~17 GPa for double-walled carbon nanotube bundles.
CNTs are not nearly as strong under compression. Because of their hollow structure and high aspect ratio, they tend to undergo buckling when placed under compressive, torsional, or bending stress.
Standard single-walled carbon nanotubes can withstand a pressure up to 24GPa without deformation. They then undergo a transformation to superhard phase nanotubes. Maximum pressures measured using current experimental techniques are around 55GPa. However, these new superhard phase nanotubes collapse at an even higher, albeit unknown, pressure.
The bulk modulus of superhard phase nanotubes is 462 to 546 GPa, even higher than that of diamond(420 GPa for single diamond crystal)
Multi-walled nanotubes are multiple concentric nanotubes precisely nested within one another. These exhibit a striking telescoping property whereby an inner nanotube core may slide, almost without friction, within its outer nanotube shell, thus creating an atomically perfect linear or rotational bearing. This is one of the first true examples of molecular nanotechnology, the precise positioning of atoms to create useful machines. Already, this property has been utilized to create the world's smallest rotational motor. Future applications such as a gigahertz mechanical oscillator are also envisaged.
Band structures computed using tight binding approximation for (6,0) CNT (zigzag, metallic) (10,2) CNT (semiconducting) and (10,10) CNT (armchair, metallic).
Because of the symmetry and unique electronic structure of graphene, the structure of a nanotube strongly affects its electrical properties. For a given (n,m) nanotube, if n = m, the nanotube is metallic; if n − m is a multiple of 3, then the nanotube is semiconducting with a very small band gap, otherwise the nanotube is a moderate semiconductor. Thus all armchair (n = m) nanotubes are metallic, and nanotubes (6,4), (9,1), etc. are semiconducting.
However, this rule has exceptions, because curvature effects in small diameter carbon nanotubes can strongly influence electrical properties. Thus, a (5,0) SWCNT that should be semiconducting in fact is metallic according to the calculations. Likewise, vice versa-- zigzag and chiral SWCNTs with small diameters that should be metallic have finite gap (armchair nanotubes remain metallic).In theory, metallic nanotubes can carry an electric current density of 4 Ã— 109 A/cm2, which is more than 1,000 times greater than those of metals such as copper, where for copper interconnects current densities are limited by electromigration.
Multiwalled carbon nanotubes with interconnected inner shells show superconductivity with a relatively high transition temperature Tc = 12 K. In contrast, the Tc value is an order of magnitude lower for ropes of single-walled carbon nanotubes or for MWNTs with usual, non-interconnected shells
Current use and application of nanotubes has mostly been limited to the use of bulk nanotubes, which is a mass of rather unorganized fragments of nanotubes. Bulk nanotube materials may never achieve a tensile strength similar to that of individual tubes, but such composites may, nevertheless, yield strengths sufficient for many applications. Bulk carbon nanotubes have already been used as composite fibers in polymers to improve the mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of the bulk product.
â€¢ Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. have been in partnership with Zyvex Performance Materials, using CNT technology in a number of their bicycle componentsâ€”including flat and riser handlebars, cranks, forks, seatposts, stems and aero bars.
â€¢ Zyvex Technologies has also built a 54' maritime vessel, the Piranha Unmanned Surface Vessel, as a technology demonstrator for what is possible using CNT technology. CNTs help improve the structural performance of the vessel, resulting in a lightweight 8,000 lb boat that can carry a payload of 15,000 lb over a range of 2,500 miles.
â€¢ Amroy Europe Oy manufactures Hybtonite carbon nanoepoxy resins where carbon nanotubes have been chemically activated to bond to epoxy, resulting in a composite material that is 20% to 30% stronger than other composite materials. It has been used for wind turbines, marine paints and variety of sports gear such as skis, ice hockey sticks, baseball bats, hunting arrows, and surfboards.
Other current applications include:
â€¢ tips for atomic force microscope probes
â€¢ in tissue engineering, carbon nanotubes can act as scaffolding for bone growth
The strength and flexibility of carbon nanotubes makes them of potential use in controlling other nanoscale structures, which suggests they will have an important role in nanotechnology engineering. The highest tensile strength of an individual multi-walled carbon nanotube has been tested to be is 63 GPa Carbon nanotubes were found in Damascus steel from the 17th century, possibly helping to account for the legendary strength of the swords made of it
Because of the carbon nanotube's superior mechanical properties, many structures have been proposed ranging from everyday items like clothes and sports gear to combat jackets and space elevators. However, the space elevator will require further efforts in refining carbon nanotube technology, as the practical tensile strength of carbon nanotubes can still be greatly improved.
For perspective, outstanding breakthroughs have already been made. Pioneering work led by Ray H. Baughman at the NanoTech Institute has shown that single and multi-walled nanotubes can produce materials with toughness unmatched in the man-made and natural worlds.
Carbon nanotubes are also a promising material as building blocks in bio-mimetic hierarchical composite materials given their exceptional mechanical properties (~1TPa in modulus, and ~100 GPa in strength). Initial attempts to incorporate CNTs into hierarchical structures led to mechanical properties that were significantly lower than these achievable limits. Windle et al. have used an in situ chemical vapor deposition (CVD) spinning method to produce continuous CNT yarns from CVD grown CNT aerogels. With this technology, they fabricated CNT yarns with strengths as high as ~9 GPa at small gage lengths of ~1 mm, however, defects resulted in a reduction of specific strength to ~1 GPa at 20 mm gage length. Espinosa et al. developed high performance DWNT-polymer composite yarns by twisting and stretching ribbons of randomly oriented bundles of DWNTs thinly coated with polymeric organic compounds. These DWNT-polymer yarns exhibited unusually high energy to failure of ~100 Jâ€¢g−1 (comparable to one of the toughest natural materials â€“ spider silk), and strength as high as ~1.4 GPa. Effort is ongoing to produce CNT composites that incorporate tougher matrix materials, such as Kevlar, to further improve on the mechanical properties toward those of individual CNTs.
Because of the high mechanical strength of carbon nanotubes, research is being made into weaving them into clothes to create stab-proof and bulletproof clothing. The nanotubes would effectively stop the bullet from penetrating the body, although the bullet's kinetic energy would likely cause broken bones and internal bleeding.
In electrical circuits
As electrical cables and wires
As paper batteries
A 2006 editorial written by Marc Monthioux and Vladimir Kuznetsov in the journal Carbon described the interesting and often-misstated origin of the carbon nanotube. A large percentage of academic and popular literature attributes the discovery of hollow, nanometer-size tubes composed of graphitic carbon to Sumio Iijima of NEC in 1991.
In 1952 L. V. Radushkevich and V. M. Lukyanovich published clear images of 50 nanometer diameter tubes made of carbon in the Soviet Journal of Physical Chemistry. This discovery was largely unnoticed, as the article was published in the Russian language, and Western scientists' access to Soviet press was limited during the Cold War. It is likely that carbon nanotubes were produced before this date, but the invention of the transmission electron microscope (TEM) allowed direct visualization of these structures.
Carbon nanotubes have been produced and observed under a variety of conditions prior to 1991. A paper by Oberlin, Endo, and Koyama published in 1976 clearly showed hollow carbon fibers with nanometer-scale diameters using a vapor-growth technique.Additionally, the authors show a TEM image of a nanotube consisting of a single wall of graphene. Later, Endo has referred to this image as a single-walled nanotube.
In 1979, John Abrahamson presented evidence of carbon nanotubes at the 14th Biennial Conference of Carbon at Pennsylvania State University. The conference paper described carbon nanotubes as carbon fibers th
at were produced on carbon anodes during arc discharge. A characterization of these fibers was given as well as hypotheses for their growth in a nitrogen atmosphere at low pressures.
In 1981, a group of Soviet scientists published the results of chemical and structural characterization of carbon nanoparticles produced by a thermocatalytical disproportionation of carbon monoxide. Using TEM images and XRD patterns, the authors suggested that their â€œcarbon multi-layer tubular crystalsâ€ were formed by rolling graphene layers into cylinders. They speculated that by rolling graphene layers into a cylinder, many different arrangements of graphene hexagonal nets are possible. They suggested two possibilities of such arrangements: circular arrangement (armchair nanotube) and a spiral, helical arrangement (chiral tube).
In 1987, Howard G. Tennett of Hyperion Catalysis was issued a U.S. patent for the production of "cylindrical discrete carbon fibrils" with a "constant diameter between about 3.5 and about 70 nanometers..., length 102 times the diameter, and an outer region of multiple essentially continuous layers of ordered carbon atoms and a distinct inner core...."
Iijima's discovery of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in the insoluble material of arc-burned graphite rods in 199and Mintmire, Dunlap, and White's independent prediction that if single-walled carbon nanotubes could be made, then they would exhibit remarkable conducting properties helped create the initial buzz that is now associated with carbon nanotubes. Nanotube research accelerated greatly following the independent discoveries by Bethune at IBM and Iijima at NEC of single-walled carbon nanotubes and methods to specifically produce them by adding transition-metal catalysts to the carbon in an arc discharge. The arc discharge technique was well-known to produce the famed Buckminster fullerene on a preparative scale, and these results appeared to extend the run of accidental discoveries relating to fullerenes. The original observation of fullerenes in mass spectrometry was not anticipated, and the first mass-production technique by KrÃ¤tschmer and Huffman was used for several years before realizing that it produced fullerenes.
The discovery of nanotubes remains a contentious issue. Many believe that Iijima's report in 1991 is of particular importance because it brought carbon nanotubes into the awareness of the scientific community as a whole