Nanocomp Technologies Inc. of Concord, New Hampshire has managed to make the largest sheet of carbon nanotubing ever, rekindling the long-standing dream of a fantastical space elevator that lifts us into orbit along an ultra-light yet ultra-strong carbon nanotube cable. Sure, at 18 square feet, the sheet is smaller than a beach blanket but it contains a billion billion nanotubes, which makes it 200 times as strong as steel and 30 times less dense.
Moreover, it's flame retardant and conducts electricity, which would make it useful in tiny electronic devices. Ironically, the problem with most carbon nanotubes is that they're too small, or rather, too short—on the order of tens of microns long. Short nanotubes are difficult to incorporate into existing manufacturing processes and lack the high performance properties of long carbon nanotubes. They also tend to be delivered in powder form (think of graphite pencils). By contrast, Nanocomp's tubes stretch a few millimeters and the sheets are specially treated to keep them from shedding black specks of carbon.
Sadly, the tubes tend to snap when molded into long tethers, as was the case last year with the MIT-Nanocomp team's entry in the NASA "Centennial Challenges" space elevator games. The more probable application is for making lightweight composite coatings for airplanes, maybe even space planes. So not as cool as a space elevator, but we'll take it.
flame retardant? OK, this confuses me since its all carbon. Good thermal conductivity?
Chunks of Coal burn nicely, but Diamonds don't. I'm guessing it's to do with the structure of the Carbon, rather than the Carbon itself.
A Carbon Nanotube has a different stucture than just a carbon molecule. But Nanotubing has a lot of possiblities but the main problem is how strong it is. Since it is made of chains when one link is weak the whole chain is weak.
200x the strength of steel while 30x lighter.
Let's take a 6,000 lb. SUV and its 5-MPH bumper...
(Hint: We may need parking hooks. Yes, HOOKS embedded in each parking space. Can you guess why?)
Of course that's assuming that EVERYTHING in the vehicle is made of carbon nanotubes.
this is one of the few advances I support...every year these sheats get bigger and bigger, what...a year ago the record length nanotube string was less than a foot....now look at it. This can be used practicaly anywhere. Think Iron man without the Iron
prevention of natural disasters and flooding or whatnot is a big sheet,....yet has to stay strong with no weak leaks and quality production and reviewing.
If a yo-yo type Carbon Nanotube set of space elevators could transport their energy saved to the next yo-yo that is near the top to then a full rotation of yo-yos could be made that would enable a superconductor to tranport the energy from the lowest yo-yo (gathering most from gravity) to then transport this energy to the yo-yo near the top of the elevator (going much against gravity (though not as much as the yo-yo midway in between itself and the next yo-yo after it)
and so illistration below
O O <---yo yo would tranport its
| | gravity energy of flywheel
O O directly to the other side
| | Carbon nanotube flywheels
O O needing reinbursement to
\ / get all the way up the elevator