What are Carbon Nanotubes? – Wanna Know More About this Miracle MaterialJune 15, 2022
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are single-wall carbon nanotubes about 1 nanometer in diameter and up to several micrometers in length. Their unique structure gives them exceptional properties, so they’ve been dubbed the ‘new asbestos’. But what do carbon nanotubes look like, and what makes them unique? Let’s find out more! They are carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal (or honeycomb) lattice. It is about 1/100th the width of human hair.
What are Carbon Nanotubes?
Carbon nanotubes are carbon fiber (or carbon-based fiber) with a cylindrical shape. The name ‘nanotube’ comes from these cylindrical fibers about one nanometer in diameter. They are often called ‘allotropes’ of carbon, amorphous carbon, and graphite. Single-wall carbon nanotubes are just a single layer of these hexagonal lattices. Multiwall carbon nanotubes are made of multiple layers of single-wall nanotubes.
Properties of CNTs
• More robust than steel – The most famous property of carbon nanotubes is their tensile strength, which is about 200 times greater than steel. This means that CNTs can withstand a lot of force without being stretched or torn apart.
• Electrically conductive – Another exciting property of CNT is that they are electrically conductive. They are 10,000 times more conductive than copper. This means that they can conduct an electric current. This makes it very useful for making things like wires, electrodes, and sensors.
• Lightweight – In addition to being strong and conductive, they are also lightweight. This means that they are great as building materials. They can be used to create light and strong structures, such as bridges and aircraft.
• Extremely durable – They are also highly durable, meaning they can withstand damage without breaking or wearing out.
• Heat and radiation-resistant – Being extremely durable, they are also heat and radiation-resistant. This means they are ideal for use in harsh environments (e.g., extreme temperatures or radiation). Other materials might break or wear out.
• Electrical and chemical insulation – Another valuable property of CNT is that they provide electrical and chemical insulation. Electrical insulation doesn’t conduct electricity, and chemical insulation doesn’t react with other materials. This means that it can be used to protect other materials from harsh conditions (e.g., extreme heat) while still being able to conduct electricity.
• Aesthetic – Another attractive property of CNT is their aesthetic. Although they are strong and durable, they also look very attractive.
• Toxic – Although many of these properties make CNTs seem like safe and reliable materials, they are pretty dangerous. The fact that they are poisonous, as well as being able to cause allergic reactions, makes CNTs a potential health hazard.
Applications of CNTs
• Aircraft – Since They are so lightweight and strong, they are ideal for use in aircraft. The light and durable material can be used to build a plane. In contrast, the conductivity and chemical resistance of the material can be used to create electrical sensors.
• Sports equipment – They are ideal for sporting equipment since they are resistant to extreme temperatures and radiation and are light and durable.
• Medical devices – They can also be used in medical devices, such as stents or catheters (medical tubes).
• Building materials – They are also ideal for building materials due to their chemical and electrical insulation and heat and radiation resistance.
• Electronic devices – Electronic devices can also be made with CNTs since they are both light and conductive.
Problems with CNTs
• Allergy – One of the biggest problems with CNT is that they are toxic and cause allergic reactions. This means that they must be handled and used safely.
• Toxic fumes – Another problem with CNT is that they produce highly toxic fumes when heated up. This means they cannot be used in a typical environment but must be in a controlled or enclosed space.
• Toxic residue – The toxic fumes produced by it when heated are so dangerous that the materials can even cause chemical burns to the skin. In addition, the toxic fumes may also be released into the environment, damaging the surrounding area.
• High manufacturing cost – Although They are extremely strong and lightweight, they are tough to produce. Production of CNTs currently costs about $1500 per kilogram. This is due to the complicated and lengthy process required to produce them and that they are made using an expensive process.
Carbon nanotubes are a type of carbon fiber that are about one nanometer in diameter and up to several micrometers in length. They are often called ‘allotropes’ of carbon, amorphous carbon, and graphite. They are made of carbon atoms in a lattice hexagonal (or honeycomb). These single-wall carbon nanotubes are just a single layer of these hexagonal lattices.
Multiwall carbon nanotubes are made of multiple layers of single-wall nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are ideal for use in many different applications due to their lightweight, electrical and chemical insulation, and durability. However, they are toxic, difficult to manufacture, and can release toxic fumes when heated.
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