Carbon Nanotubes dramatically increasing in both length and strength

According to Next Big Future, 30cm-long nanotubes are now being created, with meter-long jobs in the offing.

This is fantastic news, not merely for the space-elevator applications they’re watching like hawks, but for simple human construction.  We’re good at building suspension bridges and woven material, and with the sorts of strengths they’re discussing (how’s tripling the strength of polyvinyl tape by increasing the weight by 1%?) it shouldn’t be too long until we start seeing CNT in all sorts of things that AREN’T body armor, space elevators, and other such things.

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  1. Alex

     /  July 24, 2008

    You actually have no idea how much CNT (micron length) is being used already in many commercial products. Some technology has already shown up in the heat sinks on fans for computers, and in other applications it’s getting used for EM shielding and electrical connectors.
    But I’ve heard such claims of high length nanotubes before, and once you see the data you find that normal carbon fiber is better. We’ll have to see how the data pans out.

  2. Citizen Bob

     /  July 27, 2008

    You’re certainly right about the positive structural potential of MWCNTs (and electrical potential of SWNTs and graphene deposits). My experimental use of them in thermo-cells and various structural manipulations has yielded modest results that could turn into big advances, later, in more capable hands. However, in the great scheme of things, I’m still not cruising around in my flying car or using my desktop nuclear battery — need I remind you of the miracles of Asbestos.

    Having played around with CNTs, my conservative observation is that there may still be some serious limitations regarding temperature, radiation, electric current, chemical reactivity, etc that will take some time for material scientists to mitigate. Further, there are still a number of undetermined/conflicting results existing regarding long-term human exposure (ie. carcenogeneses) and long term survivability in heat/weather.

    Keep up the faith! We cartainly need it. Just remember Chrysler’s dream of an international airship tie-up on the top of his building, Tesla’s Death Ray, the promised cold-fusion reactor of the 1980’s, and the endless persuit of Maxwell’s Demons. It keeps us crazy physicists and engineers going (and intersted public), but my advice is that a dose of healthy skepticism must also be your companion or disappointment can only result.


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