(166f) Scalable and Effective Dispersions of Boron Nitride Nanotubes By DNA in Alcohol/Water Mixtures
Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are one-dimensional cylindrical nanostructures with multifunctional properties that are unavailable in many existing nanomaterials for developing applications, such as high-performance composites, thermal management, and biomedical applications. Aqueous dispersions of BNNTs using various molecules, such as DNA and surfactants, were reported previously by ultrasonication. Although the debundling of BNNTs can be achieved, the formation of defects and cutting of BNNTs into shorter tubes are inevitable due to harsh ultrasonication. In addition, the mixed solvent strategy involving alcohol/water systems has been considered as efficient method to disperse nanotubes via a mild bath sonication, which preserves intrinsic properties of BNNTs. In this work, we investigated the effect of various alcohol/water mixed solvents including methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol on stabilizing BNNTs using DNA. The solvation behaviour of BNNTs in a range of alcohol/water mixtures was investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. In addition, length distributions of DNA-wrapped BNNTs were determined by SEM imaging and rheology to better estimate the apparent length distributions of nanotubes. This study addresses the scalable and efficient dispersions of BNNTs which is an important step for producing nanotube-based materials such as films and fibers with enhanced properties.