Scientists have long known of the remarkable electro-mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes. They are 100 times stronger than steel, one-third the weight of aluminum, and extremely conductive of both heat and electricity. This makes them attractive for broad-based use, with the potential to augment or replace many current materials in end-user products.
Yet nanotubes are not widely used in industrial applications. That’s because commercial manufacturing processes have produced short carbon nanotubes – usually tens of micrometers long – resembling a powder in final form. It is difficult to incorporate these short nanotubes into manufactured goods because their structural and conductive properties are weak.
That is until Nanocomp Technologies recently produced the first long carbon nanotubes. They measure hundreds of micrometers to millimeters long and are highly pure. What’s more, they are suitable for end-use applications.
Nanocomp made a new textile material using these long carbon nanotubes. The textile is lightweight, strong, and efficiently conducts electricity and heat. Applications most likely to benefit from this development are defense and aerospace, including body armor structural composites, commercial energy storage, and electronics thermal management.
Nanocomp expects its materials to be used with carbon fibers and aramids to reduce the weight and improve the performance of body armor. The nanotubes can also be incorporated into land, air, and marine vehicle structures to improve fuel economy, and they can be used in next-generation wiring systems and antennas. Additionally, they can smooth out demand spikes in power networks.
Since nanotubes take electrical charges faster and more times than traditional batteries, Nanocomp predicts companies will use them as ultra capacitors to store large amounts of energy from the wind and the sun.
Nanocomp Technologies, Inc.
:: Design World ::
Filed Under: Materials • advanced
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