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Experimental Investigation on Patterning of Anchored and Unanchored Aligned Carbon Nanotube Mats by Fluid Immersion and Evaporation


Sansom, Elijah Bodhi (2007) Experimental Investigation on Patterning of Anchored and Unanchored Aligned Carbon Nanotube Mats by Fluid Immersion and Evaporation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/TJ7E-PK42.


Pattern formation by capillary forces in a nanoscale system was studied experimentally. Densely packed, vertically aligned mats of order 100 microns in height comprised of 20 nm diameter multi-walled carbon nanotubes were fabricated and treated with various liquids. The carbon nanotubes deflected and rearranged under the action of surface tension as the liquids evaporated, and remained fixed once dried. The size analysis of the resulting patterns in these experiments and in the literature showed they are distributed within one standard deviation from the mean, and there are, in general, many more small sizes than large ones within a pattern.

Preexisting defects in the mats were found to play a significant role in the pattern formation process, both in this work and in the literature, whereas the properties of the specific liquid used and the height of the mats did not.

A novel method for anchoring the aligned mats within another material using spin-coating was developed. An anchored mat made in this way was successfully held in place even under the application of a 5.5 m/s water jet.

The anchoring method allowed the first known investigation of the role of boundary conditions in this pattern formation process. Under identical experimental conditions to cases where patterns are formed in the unanchored mats, it was found that no pattern formation occurs in the anchored mats.

A population balance model based on conservation of area was applied to the pattern formation process, but sufficient details are lacking to make predictions.

The anchoring method and its prevention of pattern formation is a very important finding, and is relevant to applications of the aligned mats, such as field emission displays, supercapacitors, tissue culture scaffolds, and friction drag reducing surfaces.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:anchoring; array; capillary forces; capillography; carbon nanotube; nanocarpet; pattern formation; PDMS; polydimethylsiloxane; surface tension
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Bioengineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Gharib, Morteza
Thesis Committee:
  • Gharib, Morteza (chair)
  • Daraio, Chiara
  • Troian, Sandra M.
  • Fraser, Scott E.
Defense Date:15 December 2006
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05072007-114349
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5183
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:16 May 2007
Last Modified:26 Oct 2023 20:08

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