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Proceedings Paper

Carbon nanotube yarns: sensors, actuators, and current carriers
Author(s): Tissaphern Mirfakhrai; Mikhail Kozlov; Shaoli Fang; Mei Zhang; Ray H. Baughman; John D. Madden
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Paper Abstract

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted extensive attention in the past few years because of their appealing mechanical and electronic properties. Yarns made through spinning multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) have been reported. Here we report the application of these yarns as electrochemical actuators, force sensors and microwires. When extra charge is stored in the yarns, change in length. This actuation is thought to be because of electrostatic as well as quantum chemical effects in the nanotube backbones. We report strains up to 0.7 %. At the same time, the charged yarns can respond to a change in the applied tension by generating a current or a potential difference that is related to the applied tension force. As current carriers, the yarns offer a conductivity of ~300 S/cm, which increases linearly with temperature. We report a current capacity of more than 108 A/m2, which is comparable to those of macroscopic metal wires. However, these nanotube yarns have a density (0.8 g/cm3) that is an order of magnitude lower than metallic wires. The MWNT yarns are mechanically strong with tensile strengths reaching 700 MPa. These properties together make them a candidate material for use in many applications including sensors, actuators and light-weight current carriers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6927, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2008, 692708 (10 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.775476
Show Author Affiliations
Tissaphern Mirfakhrai, Univ. of British Columbia (Canada)
Mikhail Kozlov, Univ. of Texas at Dallas (United States)
Shaoli Fang, Univ. of Texas at Dallas (United States)
Mei Zhang, Univ. of Texas at Dallas (United States)
Ray H. Baughman, Univ. of Texas at Dallas (United States)
John D. Madden, Univ. of British Columbia (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6927:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2008
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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