Abstract for the Fourth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.

Bending, buckling, and breaking carbon nanotubes

Rodney S. Ruoff
Molecular Physics Laboratory, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA 94025

To understand how to construct structures on the nanoscale, it would be ideal to have the full stress-strain curve for the nanosized objects (components) of the structure: the structural elements.

We have invented a technique for semi-controlled loading of carbon nanotubes, which can also be used for nanorods of metal carbides such as TiC, SiC, NbC, etc.

The technique and transmission electron microscope (TEM) images of bent, buckled, and broken nanotubes will be presented. Nanofibers of Si3N4 have also been stress-loaded, and will be discussed.

Future goals include inventing methods for accurately determining the FULL stress strain curve of nano-objects, be they rods (for shear, or under tension or compression), and also for plate or flat-pancake type structures. Work in this direction is in progress.

(Supported by NSF grants DMR-9405941 and PHY 9322073. Colleagues working on this effort include Shekhar Subramoney (DuPont), Robert Laduca and Kiumars Parvin (San Jose State University), and Wolfgang Bacsa (EPFL, Switzerland) )