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Polypyrrole-Coated Carbon Nanotube-Arrays: The Missing Link Between Bucky-Paper Actuation and CNT-Array Actuation

[+] Author Affiliations
Sebastian M. Geier, Peter Wierach, Thorsten Mahrholz

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Braunschweig, Germany

Michael Sinapius

Technical University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany

Paper No. SMASIS2017-3975, pp. V001T01A013; 9 pages
  • ASME 2017 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 1: Development and Characterization of Multifunctional Materials; Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting; Emerging Technologies
  • Snowbird, Utah, USA, September 18–20, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5825-7
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


The actuation mechanisms of cnt-based materials are still controversially discussed. It is not common sense whether it is a macroscopic volume effect caused by ion intercalation or electrostatic repulsion of equally charged cnts or a nanoscopic effect of filled electron anti-bonding orbitals of the carbon atom or interactions with ions docking on the carbon surface. In the presented paper arrays of highly aligned multi-walled carbon nanotubes (mwcnts) are used which are stabilized by a polypyrrole-coating. The samples are tested along the cnt-orientation and in perpendicular mode to analyze the influence of the structure-ion interaction. The mwcnt-arrays exhibit only a total length of approximately 2.8 mm but by coating with polypyrrole larger geometries can be tested. The actuation is analyzed using an in-plane test and an actuated tensile testing. Free strain can be detected using the first set-up, the second method is carried out to evaluate the mechanical stability of the samples. As might be expected, the material shows a strong anisotropic active behavior with the actuation along the tube axis being only half of the value detected at the perpendicular oriented samples. The findings point out that an intercalation of ions into the charged CNT-architecture seems here to be the dominating mechanism.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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