Looong and thin carbon tubes via nanotechnology

Small Times brings word of advances in making longer carbon nanotubes. The company involved, Nanocomp Technologies, reminds us why these materials are so intriguing:

Individual nanotubes have extraordinary properties as they are:

Strong – 100 times stronger than steel.
Lightweight – 30 percent lighter than aluminum.
Conductive – conduct electricity as efficiently as copper, and heat better than metals

Small Times explains the achievement:

Nanocomp Technologies, Inc. says it has successfully produced a new textile material from long carbon nanotubes. The company says that the material, available in nonwoven sheet and yarn formats, could be the key to realizing significant performance benefits in defense and aerospace applications ranging from body armor to structural composites, as well as commercial energy storage and electronics thermal management…

In the near term, Nanocomp expects its materials to be 1) used in conjunction with carbon fibers and aramids to reduce weight and improve performance of body armor; 2) incorporated into land, air and marine vehicle structures to improve fuel economy; 3) used for next-generation wiring systems and antennas; and, 4) due to their ability to take an electrical charge much faster and many more times than batteries, used to create ultra capacitors to store large amounts of energy from intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar energy, as well as to smooth out demand spikes in the power network.

From an environmental perspective, #4 could be a big win. —Christine

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