A novel nanoreservoir made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is proposed for realizing tougher and automated self-healing materials. The advantages of the approach are that CNTs have the potential to play the role of reinforcing elements prior to and after sealing a crack and that the number of voids is reduced after the material and the CNTs themselves are healed. The focus of this paper is on investigating the feasibility of using CNTs as a nanoreservoir by analyzing the dynamics of a fluid flowing out of a ruptured single-walled CNT (SWNT), where the fluid resembles an organic healing agent. With this in mind the escaping mechanism of organic molecules stored inside a cracked SWNT was investigated through a molecular dynamics study. The study shows that, when a SWNT wall suffers the formation of a crack, a certain amount of organic molecules, stored inside the SWNT, escape into space in a few picoseconds. This phenomenon is found to depend on the temperature and on the size of the cracks. The results of this study indicate that CNTs have the potential to be successfully used to realize the next generation of stronger, lighter and self-healing materials. Â© 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Lanzara, G., Yoon, Y., Liu, H., Peng, S., Lee, W.-. (2009). Carbon nanotube reservoirs for self-healing materials. NANOTECHNOLOGY, 20(33), 335704 [10.1088/0957-4484/20/33/335704].