Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nanotubes on patrol!

via Slashdot, an intriguing article on carbon nanotube armor. I was involved with C60 and carbon nanotube research, and I can confirm those little tubes are amazingly strong and flexible. What's more, they can be made conductive. That body armor could also be wired for sound (or for powering electronic devices, or built-in sensors, or all KINDS of things. Even head-borne lasers.)

Alas, this is a MSM article. From the BBC, which *used* to be better at researching their stories. They were doing so well until the end ...

Nanotubes are made from graphite which is - along with diamond - one of two common forms carbon takes in nature. In graphite, carbon atoms are bonded in hexagon structures to form flat layers that are stacked on top of one another like sheets of paper.

To make nanotubes, scientists take individual graphite layers and fold them over so they join at either edge to form cylinders.

I don't know where they got that bilge but it wasn't from an actual scientist who knew anything about carbon nanotubes. They are NOT graphite, they are a completely new form of carbon. Smalley, Curl and Kroto got the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering fullerenes (the base class for nanotubes), not for atomic-scale origami. Kroto is even British so there's no excuse for such sloppiness. The last sentence is the worst. That may be how the lab assistant demonstrated the appearance of a nanotube to the reporter, rolling up some hex paper, but that is in no way, shape or form how nanotubes form in reality and I would like to see the reporter produce a valid statement, with attribution, that claims otherwise.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Trias said...

What??!! Are you telling me my patented Miniature Folding Sweatshop full of miniature Chinese laborers has run out of graphite sheets already?

Ahh i remember reading about them years ago. Amazing properties.

12:35 AM, October 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After all, Buckyballs are not something left in a hunter's offal pile...

11:42 AM, October 31, 2007  
Anonymous BillT said...

The reporter obviously confused nanotubes with nanotubs, so essential to keeping nanobods squeaky clean...

9:41 PM, November 04, 2007  

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