Nanotube Transmission for NanobotsCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: May 29, 2012 08:04AM
Automatic transmission is fairly useful for many people who just need a car that gets them from point A to point B. They may not have as much control during the trip as someone with a manual transmission, but they do not need it. In the nanoscale world though, control is needed, which is why Chinese researchers have created a nanoclutch, as reported by the American Institute of Physics.
Unlike the transmission in your car, this device does not use any gears. In fact, the device is just two carbon nanotubes, one inside the other, and some water in between. Normally in this state, the clutch disengaged, but when a charge is applied to the nanotubes, it engages. This is because of electrowetting, which causes the water between the nanotubes to adhere to their walls. As the amount of charge can be completely controlled, the researchers note that it is possible to have stepless speed regulation with the nanoclutch by varying the charge.
This may not help you shift your car from one gear to another, but it will prove useful in a variety of nanorobots. Such control will be needed in many designs but also the creation of future nanotechnology.