Part 1: Carbon Nanotubes: Long, strong and conductive fibers

Posted by Michael Gurau on Apr 3, 2014 1:54:00 PM

Carbon Nanotubes

From this two-part post, you'll walk away with a working understanding of Nanocomp's breakthrough innovations at the nano-fiber level (Part 1) and at the macro-scale level (Part II). 

Part 1: Carbon Nanotubes: Long, strong and conductive fibers 

Nano scale is considered to be in the range of 1-100 nanometers. A meter is 3.28 feet. One thousandth of a meter is a millimeter. One thousandth of a millimeter (a millionth of a meter) is a micron. A nanometer (nm) is one thousandth of a micron or a thousandth of a millionth of a meter—i.e. a billionth of a meter. 


Carbon nanotubes range from one nanometer to several nanometers in diameter. For comparison: the a thickness of a sheet of paper is about 100,000nm (or 100 micrometers), the width of your hair is about 40,000-80,000 nm, and the DNA in your cell is about 2 nanometers wide. 


what size is nano


Nanomaterials come in lots of flavors. Carbon (e.g. carbon nanotubes), silicon, and metal (e.g. silver nanoparticles) are just three examples of materials that have nano identities/manifestations. These nano forms have unique and differentiated properties from their non-nano variants—e.g. carbon nanotubes vs carbon fiber. 

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are microscopic fibers that look like porous straws and are consistently described, along with their sister carbon structure graphene, as the strongest, lightest and most conductive (electrically and thermally) material known to man. At the individual carbon nanotube level, these fibers are: 200X the strength and 5X the elasticity of steel; 5X the electrical conductivity ("ballistic transport"), 15X the thermal conductivity and 1,000X the current capacity of copper; at almost half the density of aluminum. Historically, commercial carbon nanotube makers  have produced and marketed short length fibers with limited properties and, in turn, limited applications and a hard to integrate raw material.  

Nanocomp’s CNTs are millimeters in length - 1000s of times longer than all other commercial CNT makers.  Greater length translates to greater strength, greater electrical and thermal conductivity, greater flexibility, greater manufacturability and outstanding safety.

Stay tuned for Part II.