Tehran, Sept 15, IRNA – A Tehran University faculty member, studied the dispersion of boron nitride and carbon nanotubes by triton X-100 surfactant using molecular dynamics simulations.
Funded by Iran National Science Foundation (INSF), Dr. Masumeh Foroutan conducted the research in order to study the hydrophobicity of nanotubes.
INSF was founded in 2003 with the approval of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution to support Iranian researchers and scientists.
Nanotubes are made from nanoparticles and measure only a few nanometers in girth and length. Despite having numerous advantages, including high elasticity, electrical and thermal conductivity, and hardness; nanotubes are intrinsically hydrophobic, the fact that causes unwanted nanotube aggregations and significantly decreases their functionality.
The study analyzed the effects of surfactant, which has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, on nanotube aggregations. To do so, carbon and boron nitride nanotubes were exposed to aqueous triton X-100 surfactant solution.
The results indicate that in the presence of surfactant, a space between nanotubes are created, which leads to the dispersion of the aggregation. The radial distribution functions (RDFs) of the atoms of nanotubes and hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments of the surfactant with respect to atoms of water molecules show that in the presence of surfactant, a layer of water molecules is located around the nanotubes and hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments of the surfactant reside at more distances of the tubes. The results also show that triton X-100 surfactant is more effective in dispersing aggregations in boron nitride nanotubes than in the carbon ones.