Carbon Nanotubes

(out of the laboratory and producing real applications)

Scientists have found a use for carbon nanotubes

  • Some scientists have found a way to weave nanotubes into usefully large material; such as, sheets of nanotubes so thin that an acre of the material weighs just a quarter of a pound.
  • The sheets are good electrical conductors and they can also withstand more than 34,000 pounds per square inch of force without tearing and can endure temperatures as high as 840 degrees Fahrenheit without losing strength or conductivity.
  • The Department of Defense, along with manufacturers of helicopter blades, solar electric cells, and robotics, have expressed interest in this process.
  • Others are developing medical applications of nanotubes, taking advantage of the human body's ability to absorb carbon.
  • Stanford University chemists have fabricated cancer-killing nanotubes that sneak inside tumor cells, and researchers at the University of California at Riverside are using nanotubes to speed the healing of broken bones.
  • A "materials scientist" has demonstrated that the bone-forming mineral hydroxyapatite will grow around a nanotube scaffold, replacing the collagen fibrils that grow naturally.
  • It is believed that a carbon nanotube can provide strength and flexibility for bone better than any other known product.
—Based on information from an article titled:
"Carbon Nanotubes Burst Out of the Lab", Discover Magazine, January, 2006.

Additional topics are available at Nanotechnology: Index of Articles.