Nanotech 2010

Mechanical Testing of Carbon Nanotube Nano-Rings

C. Ke, M. Zheng
State University of New York at Binghamton, US

Keywords: carbon nanotube, ring, elastica, van der Waals interaction


We present a combined experimental-theoretical study of the mechanical deformation of carbon nanotube (CNT) nano-rings. The CNT ring is formed through self-folding of a long and thin single-walled carbon nanotube bundle due to the strong van der Waals interaction between CNT surfaces. The mechanical deformations of the CNT ring when it is vertically pushed against and pulled from a flat substrate are experimentally characterized, in situ, inside a high resolution scanning electron microscope through nanomanipulation. A theoretical model based on nonlinear elastica theory is used to quantitatively study the mechanical deformation of the CNT ring on the substrate and to interpret experimental results. Both our experimental and theoretical results show that the van der Waals interaction between the CNT ring and the substrate have significant effects on its mechanical deformation in both compression and tension stages. Our results suggest that CNT rings may be used as novel force sensors or load bearing structural components in nanoscale mechanical and electromechanical devices.
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