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Carbon Nanotube- The Biggest Deal No One Is Talking About

Updated on September 8, 2016

What Are Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon Nanotubes, or CNTs, were discovered in 1991 and offered a huge leap in the strength of a material available to humanity. The premise of the discover was a material that could handle great pressures and impacts of things such as driving, space, heat, and even construction. The problem was that even after 12 years of existing, CNTs ran about 1200 USD per pound. That's a lot of money to spend if you are building a home or vehicle. Although scientist have always known that CNTs were special when it came to electronics, its application to electronics were often overlooked until recently. Today the process of creating CNTs has actually become a bit faster and cheaper. It isn't to the mass manufacturing stage yet but it is getting close. What does this mean for the United States? It means that we will likely add some manufacturing jobs in the near future and it's not likely that the technology can be manufactured outside of the US. These CTNs are much small than the width of your hair and very conductive. How conductive? CTNs belong fullerene structure family which makes it super hard and conductive. Made from graphene, which is why it cost so much, CTNs offer a conductivity magnitude that is over a thousand times stronger than copper. Why is this important? It means they handle voltage better and their thermal properties allow heat to dissipate. Say goodbye to CPU cooling.

Versatile

The great thing about CNTs is the versatility of the material. You can create a super conductive material that absolutely makes anything we know today obsolete. This includes fiber optics. This material would also do wonders for the electrical grid. Transformers blowing from storms and electrical strikes would become a thing of the past. Solar flares? Well, the power grid would survive but your personal devices will not. Yet, this material can be structured in a way that prohibits conductivity while providing an even stronger material. Can you imagine owning a hammer that never rust or wears down? Also it's super light weight which gives it even more applications. Now keep in mind these tiny structures are woven together like rope. How tiny are they? I discussed small than a human hair but I wasn't dramatic enough. They are exactly 1/10000 the with of a single hair. That's pretty small. Meaning they are easy to shape and a lot less likely to break. You may twist those headphones all day but the CNTs don't care, it takes forever to break one and even if you do, there are millions more just chilling inside. These attributes mean that his product can be used in the production of materials ranging from: military, civilian, electronics, habitat, and space exploration. They also resist radiation penetration, good news of that mission to Mars.

Practical Application And Issues

Let's talk about the practical application of these tubes. The photo above demonstrates some of the medical benefits of CNTs. We have discussed some of the electrical benefits and structural benefits. Now let's see how these benefits would apply.

Moore's Law


Most of us are familiar with Moore's law. It is a theory that computers would speed up exponentially each time a new processor came out. The theory have proven correct for many many years until recently. The speed of the next generation processors has been slowing down since the I3 was released. While the benchmark drop off between the I3-I5 isn't that great, the drop between I5 and I7 is. When considering the distance between say the P2 and P3 or even P3 and P4 , you can clearly see that Moore's law is beginning to hit a wall. Why? We are reaching and end of what we can achieve with commonly used electronic components. The heat has become too much. We attempt to compensate by building more cores, more components, better cooling. Yet we are having issues. CNTs will change this and I believe for a short period of time our CPU's will become much faster. They will also become much smaller and resistant to heat and electrical shortage. Also water, yes CNT's can handle water very well unlike our silicone, copper, nickle, and even gold friends. Cat drops a soda off your desk and all over your phone? No worries. If not for CTNs we would end up waiting on quantum computing to catch up. While quantum computing has been in the news a lot lately, it seems our ability to advance it is still decades away.

Nanobots

One of the biggest issues behind building effective nanobots at the moment has been heat. These bots require very small processors , itty bitty, something that can conduct electricity , handle heat and be 1/10000 the size of a hair can fix all that. Why are nanobots important? Medically there applications are endless. Imagine a pregnant women goes into an ER with issues. An ultra scan determines the baby has turn in an unfavorable way and the cord is beginning to wrap around it. Emergence C-section? Not so fast, nanobots could enter the blood stream and actually be used to move that cord away from the child. Imagine you have liver cancer and there is nothing doctors can do. Or can they? Nanobots could be developed to not only remove the cancer and monitor for and remove additional cancer in the body, they can also be used to inject growth hormones into tissue promoting healing and even recovery. Cancer itself would have no where to hide as these little bots could take samples inside of the body and determine which cells were cancerous, eliminating them in entirety from the body and helping them stay gone for good. I have actually written an entirely different blog about the application of nanobots.

Moon Elevator

Yea that's is right! I am going to discuss how we can use CNTs which are currently priced at 900$ a pound can be used to build a moon elevator. I know, I know. Yet, when the prices do come down and mass manufacturing is figured out, this will be a great option. Structurally , it would definitely hold up and it's diverse enough it could be used to reach space. The major logistics behind a moon elevator are still mind boggling. We have tons of things in the way not to mention bodies in motion. Maybe it's not a viable option yet but it surely is exciting to ponder about.

Every Electronic

From you cell phone to the internet and everything in between, CNTs would make a difference. You could run that cell phone over and it'll be fine. You could spill water on w.e you wanted and you could create devices much less likely to break. Of course, manufactures likely wouldn't implement this technology on everything. After all, they make money when you ruin those Beats Headphones!

Major Issues

CNTs are still not being produced on a large scale. Manufactures have decreased the issues with this but it'll be a few years before they fix it all. The other main issues is it toxicity. We know that CNTs have the ability to be toxic, the question is how toxic and what effect will it have? This material is very strong but creating it on a mass scale can become very toxic. Getting around these issues are just a few steps science has to take to finally implement its great discovery.

Moore's Law Issues Solved By CNTs

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