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Spinning carbon nanotubes spawns new wireless applications
Date:3/9/2009

bilities," says Mast. "This is just one of many potential applications."

Schulz explains that the carbon nanotube threads work well as an antenna because of something called the "skin effect."

"The electrons transfer well because they want to go to the surface," he says. "Instead of traveling through a bulk mass, they are traveling across a skin."

"Copper wire is a bulk material," Shanov points out. "With carbon nanotubes, all the atoms are on the surface of these carbon structures and the tubes themselves are hollow, so the CNT thread is small and light."

"Carbon thread that is a fraction of the weight of current copper conductors and antennas could directly apply and would be significant to aerospace activities commercial, military and space," he adds. "On any aircraft, there are about several hundred pounds of copper as cables and wiring."

Mast points out that the threads have what he calls an "immensely high tensile strength perhaps five times that of steel and yet they are less dense than steel."

Now that the team has shown the feasibility of such applications, the next steps will be to work on improvements (such as making yarn out of several threads) and to find industries that will commercialize CNT thread.

Mast's next step was going to be to buy a new cell phone. However, he says, "it works so well now that I decided to just upgrade to a new antenna made of carbon nanotube yarn."


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Contact: Wendy Beckman
wendy.beckman@uc.edu
513-556-1826
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

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