Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Carbon nanotubes in a bigger version

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Very interesting (and a diagram of their structure at the link):

While trying to grow better, longer nanotubes, researchers accidentally discovered a new type of carbon filament that’s tens of thousands of times thicker. Christened “colossal carbon tubes,” the new structures aren’t quite as strong as nanotubes but are still 30 times stronger than Kevlar per unit weight, and are potentially easier to turn into applications, suggests a new study in an upcoming Physical Review Letters.

Though exceptionally strong, nanotubes are hard to weave into larger fibers. Labs around the world have been trying to grow longer tubes or to string tubes together because long nanotube fibers could lead to futuristic products, such as ultralight bulletproof vests or even cables that could lift cargo into space at a fraction of the cost of a rocket. But researchers have had only partial success.

Recently at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, materials scientist Huisheng Peng and his collaborators were trying to tweak the conditions inside a vacuum oven to grow “forests” of long nanotubes from carbon gas. When Peng opened the vacuum-sealed door, he saw a scene that could be compared to the floor of a barber’s shop: Thin, black hairs were scattered everywhere.

Carbon nanotubes are not visible to the naked eye. “At first, I thought they were a lot of carbon nanotubes bonded together,” says Peng, who recently moved to Los Alamos from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Lab tests, however, revealed that the filaments, which can be centimeters long and as thick as one-tenth of a millimeter, were not clumps of nanotubes, but a new and unusual …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 September 2008 at 9:58 am

Posted in Science, Technology

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