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Nanotubes don't go snap after all
[January 21, 2006]

Nanotubes don't go snap after all


(New Scientist Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)CARBON nanotubes have yet another string to their bow.

It seems that the nanotubes, hailed as a wonder material for everything from computer chips to space elevators thanks to their phenomenal strength and unique electrical properties, are also a lot stretchier than previously thought.

Until now researchers thought that nanotubes, which comprise sheets of hexagonal arrangements of carbon atoms rolled into a tube like chicken wire, would snap when stretched even slightly. But Jianyu Huang, a physicist at Boston College in Massachusetts, has demonstrated they can be extended to almost four times their original length when heated to 2000 C (Nature


, vol 439, p 281).

If added to ceramics or polymers, the tubes could stop them shattering at high temperatures, Huang suggests.

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