Carbon Nanotubes

Using Carbon Nanotubes to Produce Electricity:

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT ) have discovered a new phenomenon of carbon nanotubes . They found that carbon nanotubes discharge powerful waves of electricity under certain circumstances . MIT team named it as thermopower waves . They are pinning their hope on thermopower waves to produce electricity used in small electrical appliances or maybe in large-scale applications as well.

This discharge of electricity from carbon nanotubes is a very rare event. Traditionally, we conduct electricity from water, sun, wind, coal or heat produced by the burning of fossil fuels. The thermopower waves, “opens a new area of energy research, which is rare,” said Michael Stranowho is MIT’s Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. His work was published in scientific journal Nature Materials.



Carbon nanotubes are submicroscopic structures. They are just billionths of a meter in diameter. Carbon nanotubes resemble honeycombs. Over the past two decades researchers are focusing their energies on carbon nanotubes, graphene sheets and buckeyballs. They find these three most promising for clean and green energy research. These three substances can be valuable for the medicine, nanotechnology, geoengineering, biology, and for the electronics industry.

Researchers affiliated project found the whole phenomenon quite unusual. They found that as the moving pulses of heat pass through the carbon naotubes, electrons also pass. The movement of electrons is responsible for generation of electric current. Strano says, “There’s something else happens, we call it electron entrainment since part of the current appears to scale with wave velocity.”.

Research Work:

Researchers coated carbon nanotubes with a layer of reactive fuel that can produce heat by decomposing. This fuel was then ignited by a laser beam or high voltage spark at the one end of the nanotube. This contact resulted in fast moving thermal waves. When this thermal wave enters into carbon nanotube its velocity increases thousand times than the fuel itself. When heat waves contact the thermal coating they produce a temperature of 3,000 Kelvin. This ring of heat runs the length of the tube 10,000 times faster than the normal variability of the chemical reaction. The unusual occurrence is that electrons also travel with the heat inside the tube.



There is something else happens, we call it electron entrainment, since part of the current appears to scale with wave velocity. The thermal waves behave like waves in the sea. We have observed that when ocean waves travel wear debris on their surface. This property is responsible for the high power system.

Ray Baughman, director of the Nanotech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas, shares his thoughts about the whole project that it “started with a seminal initial idea, which could take some crazy, and provided exciting experimental results, discovery of new phenomena, deep theoretical understanding, and prospects for applications.

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Posted by on Jul 17 2016. Filed under Latest Updates, WHAT'S NEW, ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONICS, Carbon Nanotubes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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