Brennan Coulter
Jul 9, 2012

Carbon Nanotubes VS Tiny Bubbles

A recent study out of Rice University unifies two competing power laws, explaining the different behaviors of “short” vs “long” carbon nanotubes under sonication. What the Rice team discovered was that the two scientifically proven and competing laws weren’t actually competing at all; both were correct. The researchers revealed that long and short carbon nanotubes don’t behave the same way when exposed to the tiny bubbles generated by sonication. When the bubbles generated by sonication collapse, they draw in and can damage nanotubes. Shorter nanotubes tend to be drawn in at their ends and are stretched out while longer nanotubes are drawn in at their sides and are snapped in two by the action (Here’s a diagram of the action). While both stretching and snapping are detrimental to the nanotubes, longer nanotubes tend to be more adversely affected by sonication. The new understanding is important for researchers who want to make and study long carbon nanotubes.