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13 August 2003 Carbon nanotubes as actuators in smart structures
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Carbon Nanotubes have diameters in nanometer scale, are up to tens of microns long and can be single- or multi-walled (SWNT and MWNT). Compared with carbon fibers, which typically have a Young's modulus of up to 750 GPa, the elastic modulus of Carbon Nanotubes has been measured to be approximately 1-2 TPa. The strength of Carbon Nanotubes has been reported to be about two order of magnitude higher than current high strength carbon fibers. Additionally especially SWNT show excellent actuator behaviour. Electromechanical actuators based on sheets of SWNT show to generate higher stress than natural muscles and higher strains than ferroelectrics like PZT. Unlike conventional ferroelectric actuators, low operating voltages of a few volts generate large actuator strains. Thus, this paper will give a brief overview of the current activities within this field and show some recent results of the Carbon Nanotube actuator development at the DLR-Institute of Structural Mechanic suggesting that optimized SWNT sheets may eventually provide substantially higher work densities per cycle than any previously known material.
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Hans Peter Monner, Stefan Muehle, and Peter Wierach "Carbon nanotubes as actuators in smart structures", Proc. SPIE 5053, Smart Structures and Materials 2003: Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics, (13 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.484194;

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