Nanotubes dampen vibrations

Adding nanotubes to compounds gives a vibration-damping effect which could have many applications from robust spacecraft components to non-buzzing stereo speakers.

A study by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that integrating nanotubes into traditional materials dramatically improves their ability to reduce vibration, especially at high temperatures.

The researchers say that the nanocomposites are lighter and less bulky than traditional polymeric damping materials and perform much better at elevated or highly varying temperatures, such as those encountered in space.

Nanotubes are already being used to strengthen and rigidify materials. The new research focuses on their other ability to dissipate energy when added to material. It also shows that these damping properties are enhanced as the temperature increases.

The findings could pave the way for a new class of materials with a multitude of applications, from high-performance parts for spacecraft and automobile engines, to golf clubs that don’t sting and stereo speakers that don’t buzz.