Friday, September 18, 2009

Finally, you can buy Buckeytubes by the square yard.

Press release by Nanocomp Technologies indicates they have succeeded in making carbon nanotube yarn and cloth as strong as kevlar.

In April, Lashmore had a mechanical multicaliber gun shoot bullets at different versions of his sheet, each less than a fifth of an inch thick, at a speed of 1,400 feet per second. Four sheets were breached, but three showed no damage. Lashmore and his 35 employees were ecstatic.

"We didn't expect it to work at all," he admits.

Cruising the web site, they say they have delivered 10,000 meters of yarn to one customer, so it looks like this is finally the real deal.  Commercial quantities of nanotube cloth, on demand.  Expensive sure, but you can get some if you need it. 

The US Air Force want to use it for wiring in their aircraft because its as conductive as copper (or possibly more so) and weighs a fraction of what an insulated copper wire does.  Its also tremendously stronger than copper, making it pretty awesome for damage reduction in combat aircraft.  You can cast it in directly as part of composite sheets too, making it possible to eliminate wiring altogether for some applications.

I've been stoked about this stuff since Buckyballs were discovered 'way back in the late 1980's.  Diamonds by the square yard, how cool is that?!

The Phantom


alex said...

Very cool. If thickness of less than a fifth of an inch does that, imagine what thickness of an inch could do!

The Phantom said...

Heh, imagine what it would cost!

Still might be worth it for space suit armor, the little bits of junk flying around up there are moving pretty freakin' quick.

This is early days yet with this stuff. Their fiber length is about 1mm according to the article. Get that fiber length out to about what wool or cotton is, that's going to make some pretty serious business. Yarn strength increases with fiber length, I'm unsure of the factor but its geometric, not additive.

How about a single nanotube about three feet long, held rigid by a magnetic field? You could cut -anything- with that. Larry Niven variable sword, for real. Awesome.