Chennai, July 27 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) on Monday said its researchers working in the field of 'Carbon Nanotube Composites' have yielded promising results that can contribute greatly in reducing the vibration during car rides.
"The outstanding properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) -- nanometre-sized molecules made of rolled-up sheets of carbon atoms -- can tremendously improve mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of polymers," Prathap Haridoss from the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras, said in a statement.
According to the research team, polymer composites, materials formed by combining polymers with various additives, have been used for a long time in recorded history for various purposes.
Many polymers, loaded with various types of reinforcing fillers, are the mainstay of daily use articles, from automobile parts to construction components.
Their study, published in the peer-reviewed international journal Nanoscale Advances, revealed that the research team are working towards developing and testing interesting polymer composites.
Their research will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of vibration damping in these types of polymers, which would, in turn, lead to designs of better vibration dampers in automobiles.
"Of the numerous attractive properties of CNT-polymer composites, their vibration damping properties make them useful in aerospace, automobile and construction industries," Haridoss said.
"Carbon nanotube-reinforced polymers combine the viscoelastic properties of the polymer with the interfacial properties of the CNT, resulting in enhanced vibration damping," he added.
Thus, CNT loaded polymers can conceivably give you a smoother ride on your car, but the team decided to find out why.
They used MWCNTs synthesized by different techniques and loaded them into Epoxy polymers. MWCT's are made of concentric tubes of carbon, and the slide between the layers are believed to damp vibrations. Naturally, the efficacy of damping would depend on the nature of the MWCNTs.
"In order to visualize the damping effects of the two types of MWCNTs, the researchers performed computational simulation studies," Haridoss said.
"Our simulation studies have shown beyond doubt that the vibration damping properties in MWCNTs arise from the interaction between atoms that constitute the inner and outer tubes rather than the inter-tube frictional energy loss."