Dominoes in Carbon Nanotubes
Shanghai Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, Institute of Low Dimensional Carbon and Device Physics, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200072, People's Republic of China
(Received 17 June 2008; published 21 October 2008)
We demonstrate by molecular dynamics simulations that the domino process can be developed in single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). Once a section of a SWCNT with an appropriate diameter (>3.5 nm) is collapsed, the successive collapse of the neighboring portions can generate a domino wave along the longitudinal direction of the tube. The wave is driven by van der Waals potential energy and its natural speed can be up to 1 km/s. Molecules inside the SWCNT can be accelerated by the domino wave and finally shot out. The finding shows for the first time that a SWCNT can be an energy supplier, which provides opportunities for designing new concept (domino-driven) nanoelectromechanical system devices.
This is an obvious weakness for the robustness of the material. Yes it is strong most of the time but if you pinch it, wham, the whole structure collapses. It however opens interesting possibilities as a mechanical device, an injection pump for example.