Infrared actuation in aligned polymer-nanotube composites
Ahir, S.V., Squires, A.M., Tajbakhsh, A.R. and Terentjev, E.M. (2006) Infrared actuation in aligned polymer-nanotube composites. Physical Review B, 73 (8). 085420. ISSN 1098-0121
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.73.085420
Rubber composites containing multiwalled carbon nanotubes have been irradiated with near-infrared light to study their reversible photomechanical actuation response. We demonstrate that the actuation is reproducible across differing polymer systems. The response is directly related to the degree of uniaxial alignment of the nanotubes in the matrix, contracting the samples along the alignment axis. The actuation stroke depends on the specific polymer being tested; however, the general response is universal for all composites tested. We conduct a detailed study of tube alignment induced by stress and propose a model for the reversible actuation behavior based on the orientational averaging of the local response. The single phenomenological parameter of this model describes the response of an individual tube to adsorption of low-energy photons; its experimentally determined value may suggest some ideas about such a response.