Some of the materials and processes with space applications include nanoparticles (ultrafine powders); carbon nanotubes or buckytubes
(strips of graphite rolled up into a cylinder, 40 to 60 times stronger than industrial steel); nanolithography (a process used to make electronic microchips); nanomanipulation (the ability to manipulate on the nanoscale which has been done in two dimensions for over a decade and scientists are now working toward third dimension); nanoelectronics (the most advanced capabilities that can be synthesized by self-assembly); nanomemories (the process of reading and writing data at molecular densities); nanobatteries; and the process of self-assembly (atomically precise pieces sticking together using chemistry or molecular biology).
To start with, researchers have to deal with such problems as the lack of uniformity in buckytube
sizes and the potential difficulty of separating filled from empty tubes.
carbon nanotubes are easier to process, yet retain the extraordinary performance properties of Buckytubes
Ever since chemists discovered buckytubes
(SN: 11/16/91, p.
Single-wall carbon nanotubes, also known as Buckytubes
, are the ultimate engineering polymer, 100 times stronger than steel at less than one sixth the weight.
a Houston company that is developing large-scale production and applications of buckytubes
Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), also known as Buckytubes
, are the ultimate engineering polymer, 100 times the strength of steel at less than one sixth the weight.
The company is actively developing new processes and applications for Buckytubes
in its own laboratories and those of industrial partners and has become the leading manufacturer of single-wall carbon nanotubes from its pilot plant in Houston.