Ultra Strong Carbon Fibers from fused DWNT nanotubes have been made and the work was published in Science Advances.
Ultrahigh strength, modulus, and conductivity of graphitic fibers by macromolecular coalescence
Abstract from Science Advances article
Theoretical considerations suggest that the strength of carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers be exceptional; however, their mechanical performance values are much lower than the theoretical values. To achieve macroscopic fibers with ultrahigh performance, researchers developed a method to form multidimensional nanostructures by coalescence of individual nanotubes. The highly aligned wet-spun fibers of single- or double-walled nanotube bundles were graphitized to induce nanotube collapse and multi-inner-walled structures. These advanced nanostructures formed a network of interconnected, close-packed graphitic domains. Their near-perfect alignment and high longitudinal crystallinity that increased the shear strength between CNTs while retaining notable flexibility. The resulting fibers have an exceptional combination of high tensile strength (6.57 GPa), modulus (629 GPa), thermal conductivity (482 W/m·K), and electrical conductivity (2.2 MS/m), thereby overcoming the limits associated with conventional synthetic fibers.
The work was done by researchers in South Korea and Rice University of Texas. There was consultation with Neil Farbstein of the Clean Energy Research Foundation. Neil patented the coalescence process in a 2018 patent.
This was scientific proof of principle of world record-breaking tensile strength fibers in scientific tests published in the April 22, 2022 issue of SCIENCE ADVANCES.
Neil Farbstein Patent and Clean Energy Foundation
The experiments were based on a method first published in US patent 10,059,595 Ultra High Strength Nanomaterials And Methods Of Manufacture. The theory of macromolecular coalescence of double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWNT) was proved to be correct in its predictions. The theory leads to production of carbon fibers with twice the strength of existing graphite fibers. They have very high electrical and thermal conductivity also. “This makes it possible to manufacture much lighter satellites, wind turbine blades, armor, and fuel efficient vehicles. Everything made with carbon fiber reinforced composites can be made stronger, tougher and lighter using the breakthrough fibers.”
Clean Energy Research Foundation had patent US 10,059,595 issued by the US patent office on August 28, 2018.
They successfully tested coalescence processes in the patent.
The patent details
* methods of manufacturing ultra-high strength solid objects by macromolecular coalescence of double-walled carbon nanotubes
* Methods of manufacturing nanophase ceramics with record breaking strength.
* Methods for ultra-tough DWNT membranes, nanopaper, and laminated materials.
The top measured tensile modulus of fibers are made of DWNTs not SWNTs. Double Walled nanotubes have tensile modulus over 1000 GPa
not 650 GPa. Neil invented DWNT fibers. Lee et.al. tested fibers made from coalesced SWNTs and DWNTs. They published results with the higher 1025 GPa tensile modulus. The higher figure is for DWNT fibers not SWNT fibers.
Mr. Neil Farbstein said “While the information in the patent was successfully used to make terapascal double-strength carbon fibers, we are still looking for investors and R&D partners to help us achieve proof of principle of other embodiments in the patent, including ultra high strength molded solid objects. The patent is available for licensing”
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10 thoughts on “Ultra Strong Carbon Fibers from Fused DWNT Nanotubes- Proof of Principle”
Regarding resistance of materials, if I am not wrong, the state of the art in currents material are not so far from these values. For example using the good old steel alloy, we have cheap and easy to find in stores 1.5 GPa steel alloys ready and easy to be machined in the range of 6$/kg or less once manufactured. Also kevlar fibres are in the range of 3 to 4 GPa. I suppose that the key here is the manufacturing costs. In any case, this looks a very promising material.
I agree that a lot of “amazing advanced material” cheerleading seems to forget about good old steel, which has been steadily improving for about 3000 years now. And accelerating.
But when comparing steel with carbon fibres, don’t forget that the steel is a lot heavier. The strength and stiffness to weight ratio is what counts a lot of the time. Stiffness also pushes carbon ahead of kevlar and other polymers, even if the strength is comparable.
On the other hand, the ability to be easily made into complex and precise 3D anisotropic shapes is still done best with a metal.
This impressed me even more:
Now only could that be of use—but I wonder if smokers on the sea floor might have had complex internal plumbing:
One cool application would be electric motors. It’s hard to compare the MS/m resistance measure with bulk conductivity of copper, but assuming the conductivity is much higher than that of copper, you could reduce ohmic losses in an electric motor while increasing the maximum power and reducing the weight. It would probably cost a lot, though….
If you’re making a super high end electric motor, the strength of the carbon fibre helps too. The most high performance electric motors are at the point where centrifugal forces will damage the coils if made without reinforcement.
If this can be made in industrial quantities with a strength of 6 GPa, it would allow for the construction of very large space habitats, as well as sea steads. The key is manufacturing cost.
commercially available Toray T1100 carbon fiber has had 7 GPa tensile strength for years. Off the top of my head I don’t know how the other properties compare.
If I read the article correctly, the main contribution to of this method is the increase of shear strength, so the other parameters may very well be similar to the commercial fiber you are referring to.
But is that for the single fiber or for the bulk material when you put the fiber together with some sort of resin? From what I understand, this new fiber is in some kind of “mesh” so that the bulk material is very close to the strength of the simple fiber. I.e. the carbon nanotube mesh does not “slip” with respect to the resin, because it’s a mesh and not individual fibers.
You can do all that with basaltic glass fiber, really. And basalt is a lot more common than carbon, at least on the moon. You only need carbon nanotubes for ultra-high performance cases.
An issue with traditional carbon fibers, I don’t know if it applies to these ones, is that at the high strain levels necessary to utilize the full strength, the tubes tunnel to broken, with a significantly short half life that goes up rapidly with the degree of strain. So you can’t really use more than maybe 25% of the full strength for any application that has to have staying power.
OTOH, the electrical applications look fantastic: Theoretically aligned nanotubes can have 15 times the conductivity per area of copper, and real world wet spun tubes can still achieve 4 times that conductivity, and at a much lower density. The applications for ultra high power density motors are obvious.
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