The new material also combines the strength and ultra-light, heat-insulating properties of aerogels with the electrical conductivity of nanotubes. Aerogels are novel, semi-transparent, low-density materials created by replacing the liquid component of a gel with gas and are normally constructed from silicon dioxide or other organic polymers. They are currently used as ultra-light structural materials, radiation detectors and thermal insulators. The team also maintained control of the density, microscopic structure and shape of the CNT aerogels. The addition of polyvinyl alcohol created a more even dispersion of CNT throughout the aerogel, adding strength.
May 16, 2007
Carbon Nanotube Aeroegel Made with Optimizable Strength, Shape and Conductivity
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created low-density aerogels made from carbon nanotubes, CNTs, that are capable of supporting 8,000 times their own weight.