Scientists have discovered a new method of producing electric current with carbon nanotubes, simply interacting with their fluid surrounding them.
In 2010, the researchers found that the tiny hollow particles of carbon atoms are capable of generating the waves of thermoelectrium power. When the carbon nanotube is covered with a layer of fuel, moving heat pulses move along it, creating an electric current.
Based on this, the team from the Massachusetts Technological Institute discovered that, the coating of the part of the nanotube the Teflon-like polymer creates an asymmetry that allows electrons to flow from coated to a uncoated part, generating an electric current that can be removed by immersing particles into a solvent that attracts electrons.
To use this particular ability, the engineers created a sheet of material from chopped carbon nanotubes, and covered it on one side with a teflon-like polymer. Next, they cut it into small pieces of about 250×250 microns.
When the separate pieces are immersed in an organic solvent, such as acetonitrile, it sticks to the uncovered surface of the particles and begins to pull the electrons from them. The system is trying to balance its condition, so the current begins to generate.
Each such particle can produce about 0.7 volts. Since the whole dense arrays can be formed, the material allows you to create a reactor that produces sufficient energy for a chemical reaction, called alcohol oxidation, in which the alcohol turns into aldehyde or ketone. It is usually not carried out using an electrochemistry, because it takes too much external current.
In the future, the team plans to adapt the invented reactor to create polymers.
Previously, we also reported on the invention of another carbon nanotube device that converts
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