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Home > Press > Submarines could use new nanotube technology for sonar and stealth

The application of solid-state fabricated carbon nanotube sheets as thermoacoustic projectors is extended from air to underwater applications, thereby providing surprising results. While the acoustic generation efficiency of a liquid immersed nanotube sheet is profoundly degraded by nanotube wetting, the hydrophobicity of the nanotube sheets in water results in an air envelope about the nanotubes that increases pressure generation efficiency a hundred-fold over that obtained by immersion in wetting alcohols. Due to nonresonant sound generation, the emission spectrum of a liquid-immersed nanotube sheet varies smoothly over a wide frequency range, 1−105 Hz. Copyright American Chemical Society
The application of solid-state fabricated carbon nanotube sheets as thermoacoustic projectors is extended from air to underwater applications, thereby providing surprising results. While the acoustic generation efficiency of a liquid immersed nanotube sheet is profoundly degraded by nanotube wetting, the hydrophobicity of the nanotube sheets in water results in an air envelope about the nanotubes that increases pressure generation efficiency a hundred-fold over that obtained by immersion in wetting alcohols. Due to nonresonant sound generation, the emission spectrum of a liquid-immersed nanotube sheet varies smoothly over a wide frequency range, 1−105 Hz. Copyright American Chemical Society

Abstract:
Speakers made from carbon nanotube sheets that are a fraction of the width of a human hair can both generate sound and cancel out noise -- properties ideal for submarine sonar to probe the ocean depths and make subs invisible to enemies. That's the topic of a report on these "nanotube speakers," which appears in ACS' Nano Letters, a monthly journal.

Submarines could use new nanotube technology for sonar and stealth

Richardson, TX | Posted on September 5th, 2010

Ali Aliev and colleagues explain that thin films of nanotubes can generate sound waves via a thermoacoustic effect. Every time that an electrical pulse passes through the microscopic layer of carbon tubes, the air around them heats up and creates a sound wave. Chinese scientists first discovered that effect in 2008, and applied it in building flexible speakers. In a remarkable demonstration, which made its way onto YouTube, the Chinese nanoscientists stuck a sheet of nanotubes onto the side of a flag, and attached it to an mp3 player. They used the nanotube-coated flag to play a song while it flapped in the breeze. But they did not test its ability to operate under water.

Aliev's group took that step, showing that nanotube sheets produce the kind of low-frequency sound waves that enable sonar to determine the location, depth, and speed of underwater objects. They also verified that the speakers can be tuned to specific frequencies to cancel out noise, such as the sound of a submarine moving through the depths.

Full Article: pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/nl100235n

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For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ali Aliev, Ph.D.
MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas 75083


Michael Bernstein

202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

Copyright © American Chemical Society

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