ABSTRACT: A new driving mechanism for direction-controlled motion of nano-scale objects is proposed, based on a model of stretching a graphene strip linked to a rigid base with linear springs of identical stiffness. We find that the potential energy difference induced by the strain gradient field in the graphene strip substrate can generate sufficient force to overcome the static and kinetic friction forces between the nano-flake and the strip substrate, resulting in the nanoscale flake motion in the direction of gradient reduction. The dynamics of the nano-flake can be manipulated by tuning the stiffness of linear springs, stretching velocity and the flake size. This fundamental law of directional motion induced by strain gradient could be very useful for promising designs of nanoscale manipulation, transportation and smart surfaces.
Project description:Recent experiments on microscopic graphite mesas demonstrate reproducible high-speed microscale superlubricity, even under ambient conditions. Here, we explore the same phenomenon on the nanoscale, by studying a graphene flake sliding on a graphite substrate, using molecular dynamics. We show that superlubricity is punctuated by high-friction transients as the flake rotates through successive crystallographic alignments with the substrate. Further, we introduce two novel routes to suppress frictional scattering and achieve persistent superlubricity. We use graphitic nanoribbons to eliminate frictional scattering by constraining the flake rotation, an approach we call frictional waveguides. We can also effectively suppress frictional scattering by biaxial stretching of the graphitic substrate. These new routes to persistent superlubricity at the nanoscale may guide the design of ultra-low dissipation nanomechanical devices.
Project description:Nanoscale carbon-based fillers are known to significantly alter the mechanical and electrical properties of polymers even at relatively low loadings. We report results from extensive molecular-dynamics simulations of mechanical testing of model polymer (high-density polyethylene) nanocomposites reinforced by nanocarbon fillers consisting of graphene flakes and fullerenes. By systematically varying filler concentration, morphology, and size, we identify clear trends in composite stiffness with reinforcement. To within statistical error, spherical fullerenes provide a nearly size-independent level of reinforcement. In contrast, two-dimensional graphene flakes induce a strongly size-dependent response: we find that flakes with radii in the 2-4?nm range provide appreciable enhancement in stiffness, which scales linearly with flake radius. Thus, with flakes approaching typical experimental sizes (~0.1-1??m), we expect graphene fillers to provide substantial reinforcement, which also is much greater than what could be achieved with fullerene fillers. We identify the atomic-scale features responsible for this size- and morphology-dependent response, notably, ordering and densification of polymer chains at the filler-matrix interface, thereby providing insights into avenues for further control and enhancement of the mechanical properties of polymer nanocomposites.
Project description:We study molecular mobility on a graphene nanoroad (GNRD), a pristine graphene strip embedded in between two hydrogenated graphene domains serving as a nanoscale pathway for transporting admolecules. Our molecular dynamics simulations using a prototype physisorbed C60 admolecule demonstrate that the proposed GNRD is able to confine the diffusive motion of the admolecule within the nanoroad up to a certain temperature, depending on its width and edge type. Within the confinement regime, the width and edge-type of the GNRD also play an important role in the molecular motion. Specifically, when the GNRD width is narrower than the admolecule diameter, the admolecule performs one-dimensional hopping motion along the nanoroad. When the GNRD width is larger than the admolecule diameter, the admolecule moves only along one of its edges at low temperatures, and shuffle between two edges at high temperatures. We further show the admolecule motion on the zigzag-edged GRND is faster than that on the armchair-edged GRND with the same width and at the same temperature. These results can be well explained by analysing the potential energy surfaces of the systems. Since such hydrogenated graphene nanostructures have been experimentally realized, our results provide a valuable reference for constructing molecular conveyor circuits.
Project description:Construction of nano-devices that can generate controllable unidirectional rotation is an important part of nanotechnology. Here, we design a nano-turbine composed of carbon nanotube and graphene nanoblades, which can be driven by fluid flow. Rotation motion of nano-turbine is quantitatively studied by molecular dynamics simulations on this model system. A robust linear relationship is achieved with this nano-turbine between its rotation rate and the fluid flow velocity spanning two orders of magnitude, and this linear relationship remains intact at various temperatures. More interestingly, a striking difference from its macroscopic counterpart is identified: the rotation rate is much smaller (by a factor of ~15) than that of the macroscopic turbine with the same driving flow. This discrepancy is shown to be related to the disruption of water flow at nanoscale, together with the water slippage at graphene surface and the so-called "dragging effect". Moreover, counterintuitively, the ratio of "effective" driving flow velocity increases as the flow velocity increases, suggesting that the linear dependence on the flow velocity can be more complicated in nature. These findings may serve as a foundation for the further development of rotary nano-devices and should also be helpful for a better understanding of the biological molecular motors.
Project description:Wearable electronics, such as sensors, actuators, and supercapacitors, have attracted broad interest owing to their promising applications. Nevertheless, practical problems involving their sensitivity and stretchability remain as challenges. In this work, efforts were devoted to fabricating a highly stretchable and sensitive strain sensor based on dip-coating of graphene onto an electrospun thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) nanofibrous membrane, followed by spinning of the TPU/graphene nanomembrane into an intertwined-coil configuration. Owing to the intertwined-coil configuration and the synergy of the two structures (nanoscale fiber gap and microscale twisting of the fiber gap), the conductive strain sensor showed a stretchability of 1100%. The self-inter-locking of the sensor prevents the coils from uncoiling. Thanks to the intertwined-coil configuration, most of the fibers were wrapped into the coils in the configuration, thus avoiding the falling off of graphene. This special configuration also endowed our strain sensor with an ability of recovery under a strain of 400%, which is higher than the stretching limit of knees and elbows in human motion. The strain sensor detected not only subtle movements (such as perceiving a pulse and identifying spoken words), but also large movements (such as recognizing the motion of fingers, wrists, knees, etc.), showing promising application potential to perform as flexible strain sensors.
Project description:In order to understand mechanisms of strategy switching in the stabilization of unstable dynamics, this work investigates how human subjects learn to become skilled users of an underactuated bimanual tool in an unstable environment. The tool, which consists of a mass and two hand-held non-linear springs, is affected by a saddle-like force-field. The non-linearity of the springs allows the users to determine size and orientation of the tool stiffness ellipse, by using different patterns of bimanual coordination: minimal stiffness occurs when the two spring terminals are aligned and stiffness size grows by stretching them apart. Tool parameters were set such that minimal stiffness is insufficient to provide stable equilibrium whereas asymptotic stability can be achieved with sufficient stretching, although at the expense of greater effort. As a consequence, tool users have two possible strategies for stabilizing the mass in different regions of the workspace: 1) high stiffness feedforward strategy, aiming at asymptotic stability and 2) low stiffness positional feedback strategy aiming at bounded stability. The tool was simulated by a bimanual haptic robot with direct torque control of the motors. In a previous study we analyzed the behavior of naïve users and we found that they spontaneously clustered into two groups of approximately equal size. In this study we trained subjects to become expert users of both strategies in a discrete reaching task. Then we tested generalization capabilities and mechanism of strategy-switching by means of stabilization tasks which consist of tracking moving targets in the workspace. The uniqueness of the experimental setup is that it addresses the general problem of strategy-switching in an unstable environment, suggesting that complex behaviors cannot be explained in terms of a global optimization criterion but rather require the ability to switch between different sub-optimal mechanisms.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The purpose of this study was to compare the duration of high-intensity static stretching on flexibility and strength in the hamstrings. METHODS:Fourteen healthy males (20.8 ± 0.6 years, 170.7 ± 6.5 cm, 66.4 ± 9.9 kg) underwent high-intensity static stretching for three different durations (10, 15, and 20 seconds). The intensity of static stretching was set at the maximum point of discomfort. To examine the change in flexibility and strength, range of motion, peak passive torque, relative passive torque, muscle-tendon unit stiffness, peak torque of isokinetic knee flexion, and knee angle at peak torque of isokinetic knee flexion were measured. To evaluate a time course of pain, a numerical rating scale was described. RESULTS:Range of motion (P < 0.01), peak passive torque (P < 0.01), and knee angle at peak torque were increased at all interventions. Relative passive torque (P < 0.01) and muscle-tendon unit stiffness (P < 0.01) were decreased at all interventions. Peak torque decreased after 10 seconds of stretching (P < 0.05). Numerical rating scale during stretching was 8-9 levels in all interventions, the pain disappeared immediately after the post-measurements (median = 0). CONCLUSION:The results suggested that muscle-tendon unit stiffness decreased regardless of duration of high-intensity static stretching. However, peak torque of isokinetic knee flexion decreased after 10 seconds of high-intensity static stretching, though it was no change after for more than 15 seconds of stretching.
Project description:We present strong experimental evidence for the moiré origin of superlattices on graphite by imaging a live transition from one superlattice to another with concurrent and direct measurement of the orientation angle before and after rotation using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). This has been possible due to a fortuitous observation of a superlattice on a nanometer-sized graphene flake wherein we have induced a further rotation of the flake utilizing the capillary forces at play at a solid-liquid interface using STM tip motion. We propose a more "realistic" tip-surface meniscus relevant to STM at solid-liquid interfaces and show that the capillary force is sufficient to account for the total expenditure of energy involved in the process.
Project description:Graphene monolayers are known to display domains of anisotropic friction with twofold symmetry and anisotropy exceeding 200%. This anisotropy has been thought to originate from periodic nanoscale ripples in the graphene sheet, which enhance puckering around a sliding asperity to a degree determined by the sliding direction. Here we demonstrate that these frictional domains derive not from structural features in the graphene but from self-assembly of environmental adsorbates into a highly regular superlattice of stripes with period 4-6?nm. The stripes and resulting frictional domains appear on monolayer and multilayer graphene on a variety of substrates, as well as on exfoliated flakes of hexagonal boron nitride. We show that the stripe-superlattices can be reproducibly and reversibly manipulated with submicrometre precision using a scanning probe microscope, allowing us to create arbitrary arrangements of frictional domains within a single flake. Our results suggest a revised understanding of the anisotropic friction observed on graphene and bulk graphite in terms of adsorbates.
Project description:The stress transfer mechanism from a polymer substrate to a nanoinclusion, such as a graphene flake, is of extreme interest for the production of effective nanocomposites. Previous work conducted mainly at the micron scale has shown that the intrinsic mechanism of stress transfer is shear at the interface. However, since the interfacial shear takes its maximum value at the very edge of the nanoinclusion it is of extreme interest to assess the effect of edge integrity upon axial stress transfer at the submicron scale. Here, we conduct a detailed Raman line mapping near the edges of a monolayer graphene flake that is simply supported onto an epoxy-based photoresist (SU8)/poly(methyl methacrylate) matrix at steps as small as 100 nm. We show for the first time that the distribution of axial strain (stress) along the flake deviates somewhat from the classical shear-lag prediction for a region of ? 2 ?m from the edge. This behavior is mainly attributed to the presence of residual stresses, unintentional doping, and/or edge effects (deviation from the equilibrium values of bond lengths and angles, as well as different edge chiralities). By considering a simple balance of shear-to-normal stresses at the interface we are able to directly convert the strain (stress) gradient to values of interfacial shear stress for all the applied tensile levels without assuming classical shear-lag behavior. For large flakes a maximum value of interfacial shear stress of 0.4 MPa is obtained prior to flake slipping.