Researcher studies dispersion of aggregated nanotubes

TEHRAN, Sep. 12 (MNA) – An Iranian researcher has studied the dispersion of aggregated nanotubes by using molecular dynamics simulations revealing interesting results.

A Tehran University faculty member Dr. Masoumeh Foroutan studied the dispersion of boron nitride ‎and carbon nanotubes by triton X-‎‏100‏‎ surfactant using molecular dynamics simulations. Funded by Iran National Science Foundation (INSF), Dr. ‎Foroutan conducted the research in order to study the ‎hydrophobicity of nanotubes.‎

Nanotubes are made from nanoparticles and measure only a few nanometers in ‎girth and length. Despite having numerous advantages, including high ‎elasticity, electrical and thermal conductivity, and hardness; nanotubes are ‎intrinsically hydrophobic, the fact that causes unwanted nanotube aggregations ‎and significantly decreases their functionality.‎

The study analyzed the effects of surfactant, which has both hydrophilic and ‎hydrophobic properties, on nanotube aggregations. To do so, carbon and ‎boron nitride ‎nanotubes were exposed to aqueous triton X-‎‏100‏‎ surfactant ‎solution.‎

The results indicate that in the presence of surfactant, a space between nanotubes are created, which leads to the dispersion of the aggregation. The ‎radial distribution functions (RDFs) of the atoms of nanotubes and hydrophilic ‎and hydrophobic segments of the surfactant with respect to atoms of water ‎molecules show that in the presence of surfactant, a layer of water molecules is ‎located around the nanotubes and hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments of ‎the surfactant reside at more distances of the tubes. The results also show that ‎triton X-‎‏100‏‎ surfactant is more effective in dispersing aggregations in boron ‎nitride ‎nanotubes than in the carbon ones.‎

For further information on this project, read the following papers:‎

S. M. Fatemi, M. Foroutan, Structure and Dynamics of a Nonionic Surfactant ‎Within a ‎Carbon Nanotube Bundle by Molecular Dynamics Simulation. J. ‎Colloid Sci. Biotech.  ‎‎(‎‏2013‏‎) ‎‏2‏‎, ‎‏40‏‎-‎‏44‏‎. ‎

S. M. Fatemi, M. Foroutan, Study of the Dynamic Behavior of Boron Nitride ‎Nanotube ‎‎(BNNT) and Triton Surfactant Complexes Using Molecular ‎Dynamics Simulations, ‎Advanced Science, Engineering and Medicine.  ‎‏6‏‎ ‎‎(‎‏2014‏‎) ‎‏19‏‎-‎‏26‏‎.‎


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