Collapsing nanoparticle-laden nanotubes

JA Napoli and A Saric and A Cacciuto, SOFT MATTER, 9, 8881-8886 (2013).

DOI: 10.1039/c3sm51495a

We show how self-assembly of sticky nanoparticles can drive radial collapse of thin-walled nanotubes. Using numerical simulations, we study the transition as a function of the geometric and elastic parameters of the nanotube and the binding strength of the nanoparticles. We find that it is possible to derive a simple scaling law relating all these parameters, and estimate bounds for the onset conditions leading to the collapse of the nanotube. We also study the reverse process - the nanoparticle release from the folded state - and find that the stability of the collapsed state can be greatly improved by increasing the bending rigidity of the nanotubes. Our results suggest ways to strengthen the mechanical properties of nanotubes, but also indicate that the control of nanoparticle self-assembly on these nanotubes can lead to nanoparticle-laden responsive materials.

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