As reported in the journal Science: UTD/CSIRO team recently demonstrated that synthetically made carbon nanotubes can be commercially manufactured into transparent sheets that are stronger than steel sheets of the same weight.
Starting from chemically grown, self-assembled structures in which nanotubes are aligned like trees in a forest, the sheets are produced at up to seven meters per minute. Unlike previous sheet fabrication methods – using dispersions of nanotubes in liquids – this dry-state process produces materials made from the ultra-long nanotubes required to optimise their unique set of properties.
A team of nanotechnologists at The University of Texas at Dallas, along with Brazilian collaborators, have discovered that sheets of carbon nanotubes can produce bizarre mechanical properties when stretched or uniformly compressed. These unexpected but highly useful properties could be used for such applications as making composites, artificial muscles, gaskets or sensors.
CSIRO has dry spun carbon nanotubes
Four scanning electron microscope images of the spinning of carbon nanotube fibres.
* image one is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of a spinning triangle in which CNT fibres can be seen drawing off the forest
* image two (clockwise rotation) shows a close-up of the CNTs being drawn from the forest and highlights the alignment of the fibres
* image three shows the twist insertion point
* image four shows a section of the yarn which is comprised of over 100 000 nanotubes.