Researchers have succeeded in creating a carbon nanotube 20 times more densely packed than existing tubes, a discovery that could accelerate the practical application of nanotubes. The carbon nanotube solid has over 99.9 percent carbon purity, is easy to process and is expected to be applied to long-duration high-performance batteries.
The team focused on surface tensions made when drops of alcohol evaporate. They soaked carbon nanotubes with alcohol, dried them and confirmed the tubes had been drawn together by surface tension, becoming highly dense aggregates of high purity.
With existing technology, when carbon nanotubes are densely packed, their structure is destroyed. But with the new method, carbon nanotubes can be engineered into various shapes, such as needles and thin films, without destroying their strength or electrical characteristics. The production costs are lowered to a fraction of the present level, and stable mass production is possible.