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Carbon Nanotube 'Shock Absorbers' Excel at Dampening Vibration

21 January 2005

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a novel carbon-nanotube-based material that chokes vibration and may have applications for both large and small devices.

Conducted by Nikhil Koratkar and colleagues at Rensselaer, the research arose from Koratkar’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, which recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. This award is the highest honour bestowed by NSF on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

“True to the spirit of nanoscale engineering, Koratkar’s team developed unique composite materials to maximize frictional damping. Although one may argue that carbon nanotubes are too expensive to use in practical systems, there is no reason why other, less expensive, nanoscale materials cannot be incorporated to accomplish the same task. This is an excellent example of someone taking lemon and turning it into lemonade.” – Yip-Wah Chung, Director of the NSF Surface Engineering and Material Design Program

“In most mechanical systems, friction is often considered to be a negative attribute because it results in wear and unnecessary energy dissipation. In this case, professor Koratkar took advantage of friction between sliding interfaces to damp vibrations.” – Yip-Wah Chung

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.47 billion.

This image shows clusters of the carbon-nanotube vibration-dampening material. Credit: Nikhil Koratkar, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.






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