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Spinning yarns of CNTs

By Edited by Gerald Ondrey |

The exceptional properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), such as high tensile strength and high thermal and electrical conductivities, have suggested a number of applications, including lightweight materials for ballistics protection, actuators for muscles or artificial muscles, filaments for light sources, electrodes, super-capacitors, and flow sensors. So, many researchers have tried to prepare macroscopic CNT materials that exhibit at least some of the properties of individual CNTs. This has so far proved elusive. One method of assembling CNTs into macroscopic structures is to disperse them into a binder. However, a rapid increase of viscosity with concentration limits the final concentrations to about 7 wt.%. Researchers from CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology (Belmont, Victoria, Australia; www.csiro.au), and the NanoTech Institute and Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas (http://nanotech.utdallas.edu), have developed a way to make pure, CNT yarns and webs, avoiding the problems associated with the presence of a binder. The technology under development involves growing "drawable" forests, which means that CNTs taken off the wall of the forest cause the drawing off of CNTs from the next layer. Continuous…
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