Chemically driven carbon-nanotube-guided thermopower waves

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Year: 2010
Type of Publication: Article
  • Wonjoon Choi, Joel T. Abrahamson Seunghyun Hong
Journal: Nature Materials Volume: 9
Number: 5
Month: MAY 2010
PT: J; TC: 20; UT: WOS:000276953500023
Theoretical calculations predict that by coupling an exothermic chemical reaction with a nanotube or nanowire possessing a high axial thermal conductivity, a self-propagating reactive wave can be driven along its length. Herein, such waves are realized using a 7-nm cyclotrimethylene trinitramine annular shell around a multiwalled carbon nanotube and are amplified by more than 10(4) times the bulk value, propagating faster than 2 m s(-1), with an effective thermal conductivity of 1.28 +/- 0.2 kW m(-1) K(-1) at 2,860 K. This wave produces a concomitant electrical pulse of disproportionately high specific power, as large as 7 kW kg(-1), which we identify as a thermopower wave. Thermally excited carriers flow in the direction of the propagating reaction with a specific power that scales inversely with system size. The reaction also evolves an anisotropic pressure wave of high total impulse per mass (300 N s kg(-1)). Such waves of high power density may find uses as unique energy sources.