Single wall carbon nanotube (SWNT)-Nafion composite actuators have been demonstrated for 0.1 - 18 %, w/w doping of purified SWNTs within the polymer matrix. The high purity SWNTs, >95%w/w, were prepared using thermal oxidation and acid treatments for both in-house synthesized pulse laser vaporization SWNTs and commercially obtained HiPco material. Characterization of the purified SWNTs was performed using thermogravimetric analysis, scanning electron microscopy, optical absorption and Raman spectroscopy. Homogeneous dispersions of SWNTs in a Nation polymer series were demonstrated using a combination of homogenization and high speed mixing techniques. Evaluation of SWNT-Nafion composites showed a "debundling" of the SWNT average bundle diameter when dispersed in the polymer matrix. Further analysis showed the efficient distribution of the high aspect ratio, conductive SWNT materials promoted actuation of the Nafion composite membrane to be reached at SWNT doping levels as low as 0.5% w/w. Utilizing a 2-electrode bimorph cantilever actuator immersed into an aqueous 1 M LiCl solution, tip deflections up to 4.5 mm were observed.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Actuators--Materials; Nanostructured materials; Nanotubes
Department, Program, or Center
School of Chemistry and Materials Science (COS)
Landi, Brian, "Single wall carbon nanotube-nafion composite actuators" (2002). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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