A nano universal joint made from curved double-walled carbon nanotubes

Kun Cai*, Haifang Cai, Jiao Shi, Qing H. Qin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    A nano universal joint is constructed from curved double-wall carbon nanotubes with a short outer tube as stator and a long inner tube as a rotor. When one end of the rotor is driven (by a rotary motor) to rotate, the same rotational speed but with different rotational direction will be induced at the other end of the rotor. This mechanism makes the joint useful for designing a flexible nanodevice with an adjustable output rotational signal. The motion transmission effect of the universal joint is analyzed using a molecular dynamics simulation approach. In particular, the effects of three factors are investigated. The first factor is the curvature of the stator, which produces a different rotational direction of the rotor at the output end. The second is the bonding conditions of carbon atoms on the adjacent tube ends of the motor and the rotor, sp1 or sp2 atoms, which create different attraction between the motor and the rotor. The third is the rotational speed of the motor, which can be considered as the input signal of the universal joint. It is noted that the rotor's rotational speed is usually the same as that of the motor when the carbon atoms on the adjacent ends of the motor and the rotor are sp1 carbon atoms. When they become the new sp2 atoms, the rotor experiences a jump in rotational speed from a lower value to that of the motor. The mechanism of drops in potential of the motor is revealed. If the carbon atoms on the adjacent ends are sp2 atoms, the rotor rotates more slowly than the motor, whereas the rotational speed is stable when driven by a higher speed motor.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number241907
    JournalApplied Physics Letters
    Issue number24
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2015


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