(July 12,2004)—Researchers at the Georgia Institute
of Technology and NASA suggest that materials on the
nanoscale may sometimes be subject to the same physical
rules as their macro-world counterparts. The findings
provide an exception to the conventional scientific
notion that objects small enough to be measured in
nanometers (one-billionth of a meter) behave according
to different rules than larger objects
team led by Lawrence Bottomley in Georgia Tech’s School
of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Jonathon Colton
in the School of Mechanical Engineering found that
the mechanical response of a multi-walled carbon nanospring
was remarkably similar to the rules that govern the
mechanical properties of springs on the macro scale.
The results are published in the American Chemical
Society journal Nano Letters, Volume 4, Number 6.
may not necessarily be different when it comes to
the mechanical properties of springs,” said Bottomley.
The findings suggest there may be other nano materials
that behave in ways similar to their macroscale counterparts.
results were surprising because they ran counter to
the common wisdom in the literature said Colton.
got to study each case carefully, don’t just assume
it’s different,” Bottomley added.
team used an atomic force microscope to compress a
multi-walled carbon nanospring attached to the cantilever
probe tip. By simultaneously monitoring cantilever
deflection, oscillation amplitude and resonance of
the cantilever, the group found the nanospring compressed
and buckled in the same ways a macroscale spring would.
this one application we modeled the performance of
a nanospring using the equations that are used to
describe two macroscale springs in series. The agreement
of data with the theory is remarkably good, said Bottomley.
the future, the team plans further tests on multiwalled
carbon nanosprings to correlate the number of walls,
number of coils, and helical pitch with mechanical
members of the research team included Mark Poggi,
Jeffrey Boyles and Andrew McFarland from Georgia Tech;
Cattien Nguyen from the ELORET Corporation and Ramsey
Stevens and Peter Lillehei from NASA.