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Tough tubes -- Carbon nanotubes endure heavy wear and tear

the nanotube block also retained its original electrical conductance.

In the initial stages of the experiment, the force needed to compress the nanotube block decreased slightly, but soon stabilized to a constant value, said Jonghwan Suhr, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada in Reno, who received his doctorate from Rensselaer in 2005, and with Pushparaj contributed equally to this report.

As the researchers continued to compress the block, the individual nanotube arrays collectively and gradually adjusted to getting squeezed, showing very little fatigue. This shape memory, or viscoelastic-like behavior (although the individual nanotubes are not themselves viscoelastic), is often observed in soft-tissue materials.

While more promising than polymers and other engineered materials that exhibit shape memory, carbon nanotubes by themselves do not perform well enough to be used as a synthetic biomaterial. But Pushparaj and his fellow researchers are combining carbon nanotubes with different polymers to create a material they anticipate will perform as well as soft tissue. The team is also using results from this study to develop mechanically compliant electrical probes and interconnects.


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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
2-Jul-2007


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