Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Ordinary Thread

What's stronger than steel, highly conductive, yet can act like a textile fiber?

Carbon nanotubes.

This is one of those fields that is growing by leaps and bounds all the time. There are a few videos out there on this topic...for example, here and here are videos showing the process of spinning carbon nanotube threads as if they were yarn.

Like so many other things nanotech, carbon nanotubes have all sorts of unusual properties. Some of the potential applications may one day include stronger-than-steel cables, space elevators, and improvements in lightweight armor.

One of the more intriguing developments seems to be in the area of circuits. For years, the idea of Moore's Law has been discussed, but there are also inherent limitations with silicon chips in terms of size. Now there is research being done on carbon nanotube circuits...and one of those articles can be found here. IBM is working on chips that contain carbon nanotube transistors (instead of silicon transistors). That article can be found here.

Regarding textile applications, however, this type of technology could see uses in tear-resistant fabrics, water-resistant fabrics, body armor and even fire protection. Now if they could make a lightweight thread that keeps buttons from popping off of pants and jackets, I'm all for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment