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Posted: 9/4/2004 12:41:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 12:43:46 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]

Nanotubes Spun into Super Fibers
Technique inspired by that used to make bulletproof Kevlar
By Gabe Romain
Betterhumans Staff
9/2/2004 3:32 PM
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Manufacturing of fibers far stronger than those used to make bulletproof vests could soon be possible thanks to a new technique that transforms disorganized carbon nanotubes into continuous macroscale fibers.

The technique, developed by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Rice University in Houston, Texas, could lead to the realization of the unique mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes.

"Throughout the relatively brief history of carbon nanotube research, the creation of a usable nanotube fiber has been one of the ultimate goals," says Penn researcher John Fischer. "Its applications are nearly limitless, from replacing copper wiring to creating super-strong fabrics to, as some have suggested, building the cable tethers that will allow space elevators to travel from the Earth to orbit."

Tangle tendency

Carbon nanotubes are hollow cylinders of pure carbon that measure just one-billionth of a meter in diameter. Besides being unusually strong, they conduct electricity better than copper and conduct heat better than diamond. Such properties make them potentially useful in extremely small-scale electronic and mechanical applications.

Spinning carbon nanotubes into continuous strands, however, has been tricky because individual nanotubes are strongly attracted to each other and tend to stick together in clumps.

Researchers have developed ways to untangle and sort small amounts of nanotubes using detergent, water and polymer solutions, but have not found a satisfactory way to achieve stable dispersions suitable for processing. Moreover, it's hard to remove all the soap and polymer and convert the nanotubes back into their pure form.

Spin solution

To overcome this problem, Rice researcher Richard Smalley and colleagues developed a new method that involves dispersing nanotubes in sulfuric acid. Once separated into individual tubes, they can then be reassembled more compactly and squeezed into highly aligned fibers.

The method was inspired by the spinning techniques used to create other modern super fibers such as Kevlar—the material used in bulletproof vests—and Zylon—a material twice as strong as Kevlar.

Using a similar spinning technique, the researchers squeezed out the nanotube dispersion through a long hypodermic needle, allowing the resulting strands to thicken before removing the acid.

Each individual strand of the resulting carbon nanotube fibers is approximately several human hairs in diameter and contains about a million closely packed and aligned nanotubes. The researchers were able to disperse up to 10% by weight of pure carbon nanotubes—more than 10 times the highest concentrations previously achieved.

"The early results are auspicious," says Smalley. "We've got no impurities, our densities are about 77% of what's theoretically possible, and we're confident that the strength and conductance will improve as we refine the heat treatment, spinning and other elements of production."

The research is reported in the journal Science.



A ballistic vest the size and weight of the existing IBA would have Level III protection all round, and it would make armored leggings and sleeves much more practical.

More here www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2004-09-02-2
and here www.sciencemag.org/
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 12:54:12 PM EDT
I must go and fix my flux capacitor now.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 12:58:25 PM EDT
That's why God created head shots.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:01:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 1:03:00 PM EDT by Mmanwitgun]
This problem was solved in the movie Blankman when the criminals noticed bullets didn't go through his armor

Criminal one: "What happens if you shoot him in the head?"
Criminal two: "Yeah shoot him in the head!"

edited to add: Damn, in the time it took me to get the quote, Wobblin Goblin beat me to the headshots idea
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:06:54 PM EDT
This fiber is nothing new. Anyone who has seen the movie "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" knows that Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke did battle with a pack of thugs wearing trench coats made of such a fiber.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:09:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mmanwitgun:
edited to add: Damn, in the time it took me to get the quote, Wobblin Goblin beat me to the headshots idea


Heheheh.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:09:35 PM EDT
This will work until someone invents a hyperkinetic sabot round for the basic AW.

Think of it as a caled-down M1 tank round.

Only a matter of time.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:18:06 PM EDT

. . . as some have suggested, building the cable tethers that will allow space elevators to travel from the Earth to orbit."


Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:22:16 PM EDT
It's all fun and games until the energy weapons come out.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:25:01 PM EDT
"Hokey materials and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid..."
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:27:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 1:28:15 PM EDT by Aimless]
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:29:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
This will work until someone invents a hyperkinetic sabot round for the basic AW.

Think of it as a caled-down M1 tank round.

Only a matter of time.



Well I'm not sure what that means but I'm guessing bullet technology will start toadvance again quickly enough to figure away to defeat these vests. "headshots" isn't really the answer since realistically you are not going to field soldiers in large groups who are going to go out and make consistent head shots



That's exactly what I mean.

Not bad for a lawyer!
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:53:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LadyLiberty:

. . . as some have suggested, building the cable tethers that will allow space elevators to travel from the Earth to orbit."






Space Elevator
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 1:55:28 PM EDT
Just spray your bullets with Teflon... it goes through body-armor, but only that worn by cops.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:09:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
Just spray your bullets with Teflon... it goes through body-armor, but only that worn by cops.



You're kidding, right???
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:11:51 PM EDT
Carbon nanotubes are an amazing substance...by weight, they are over 500 times stronger than steel...all manner of neato torpedo inventions can be developed with materials like that...
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:22:32 PM EDT
alien technology making life better!
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:30:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LadyLiberty:

. . . as some have suggested, building the cable tethers that will allow space elevators to travel from the Earth to orbit."





Read the The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clark if the subject interests you.



Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:36:22 PM EDT
Didn't you see that documentary on cop killing bullets Lethal Weapon 3?




Originally Posted By IamtheNRA:

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
Just spray your bullets with Teflon... it goes through body-armor, but only that worn by cops.



You're kidding, right???

Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:54:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 2:55:58 PM EDT by KBaker]
Never mind.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:57:38 PM EDT
hmm wonder if anyones though of putting them in the plasma base diamonds there making... hardness of diamond with laterall strength of cabon fiber...
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 5:05:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Orion_Shall_Rise:
hmm wonder if anyones though of putting them in the plasma base diamonds there making... hardness of diamond with laterall strength of cabon fiber...



I don't know that would work. This group had trouble gettnig parcipitated diamond to adhere to carbon (though not CN) filiment, it just etched the carbon instead of adhereing to it.

Since CN has similiar high melting/burning point as Diamond though, you should be able to make Metal Matrix Composites with Titanium with it.

www.chm.bris.ac.uk/pt/diamond/fibcomp.htm
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 5:10:04 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 5:27:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
Just spray your bullets with Teflon... it goes through body-armor, but only that worn by cops.



I only have some PAM cooking spray. Will that work?

S.O.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 5:30:10 AM EDT
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