MIT generates Electricity from Carbon Nanotubes

MIT engineers have discovered a new way of generating electricity using carbon nanotubes. A new material made up of carbon nanotubes have potential to generate electricity by collecting energy from its environment.

How electricity is generated?

  • These micro carbon particles can create current by interacting with liquid around them.
  • Liquid, an organic solvent, attracts electrons out of the nanoparticles, which generates current.
  • This current can be used to drive chemical reactions or to power micro or nanoscale robots.
  • This electric current can also be used to drive a reaction known as alcohol oxidation.

Properties of discovery

This discovery grew out of research on carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes made of lattice of carbon atoms. These tubes have unique electrical properties. Potential of carbon nanotubes to generate thermopower waves was demonstrated way back in 2010. When Carbon nanotube is coated with layer of fuel, moving pulses of heat or thermopower waves travelling along tube generates electrical current.

Feature of carbon nanotubes

When part of carbon nanotube is coated with Teflon-like polymer, it creates an asymmetry. This makes it possible for electrons to flow from coated to uncoated part of tube, which generates an electrical current.

Power of particles

Current version of particles can generate about 0.7 volts of electricity per particle.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)

CNTs are tubes made of carbon having diameter in nanometres. They are referred as single-wall carbon nanotubes and are one of the allotropes of carbon. They are intermediate between two allotropes of carbon- fullerene cages and flat graphene.

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