Title: FABRICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A MINIATURE SELF-SENSING JOINT OF CARBON NANOTUBE BUNDLES
Recently, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted much attention in research due to their advantages of high strength and piezoelectric characteristics. In this work, we present a process to fabricate a miniature joint made of carbon nanotube bundles. Specifically, dielectrophoresis force is employed to assemble CNTs across two metal components. The CNTs are uniformly dispersed in isopropyl alcohol using ultrasonic shaking in prior to the dielectrophoresis assembly. The CNT solution is then dispensed and regarded as the gap between the metal components across which an AC electric field is applied. The CNTs align to the electric field and then stick onto the metal components as the isopropyl alcohol dries out.
The fabricated miniature joint is characterized on a precision motorized stage. One side of the joint is fixed on the stage; the other side is connected to a load cell. Stiffness ratios of the joint are then characterized to determine the number of degrees of freedom. The stress of the joint subjected to different directional loadings is obtained by measuring the variations of the electrical resistance of the CNTs. The fabrication and characterization will be detailed in the full paper. The proposed joint is capable of connecting two miniature metal components and monitoring real-time stressing conditions.