Flexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 405 posts, RR: 0 Posted (4 years 8 months 5 days ago) and read 1645 times:
A couple of years back it seemed that carbon nanotube mass production was just around the corner and we could expect buildings, cars, aircraft, etc. would benefit from the new material in the close future.
Now I haven't heard much about it any more, does anyone know what the current status is? Are any projects worth mentioning on the way?
2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8950 posts, RR: 62 Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1503 times:
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Quoting Flexo (Reply 3): Interesting, I suppose you are talking about professional "Tour de France" style bicyles?
Yes. Due to the expense involved in production, nanotube use is currently limited to top-of-the-line frames and components.
Quoting Flexo (Reply 3): Do you know which manufacturers are using them?
The only frame manufacturer I know of is BMC. Their nanotube frame was first used in the Tour back in 2005. They use tubing from Easton, whom I believe has some kind of patent on nanotube technology in the bicycle industry. They source their carbon nanotube material from Zyvex.
Easton uses nanotube technology to produce handlebars, seatposts, cranksets, forks, and stems.
Quoting Johns624 (Reply 5):
Actually, many of the TdF bikes are available to Joe Public off the shelf.
Yes, indeed. The Trek Madone frames used in the Tour, Vuelta, Giro, etc are totally stock frames, pulled from regular production runs.
Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 4): I supposed the biggest reason that is not used as widely right now is the immense cost of producing them.
Patents might be restricting widespread use in some industries, and I know there's some concern about carcinogen exposure when the material is cut.
Quoting Klaus (Reply 6): Tubes made from carbon fiber are a completely different thing from nanotubes.
Nanotubes are an ingredient that can be added to the resin used in carbon fiber to strengthen it. Nanotubes are to carbon fiber resin what steel rebar is to reinforced concrete.
NoWorries From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 523 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1471 times:
There's also a fair amount of interest in the electronics industry. Nanotube structures can be specifically designed (via their shape) to have various conductor or semiconductor properties.
There are countless potential uses, but just as an example -- one of the problems with monolithic silicon ICs is that silicon junctions have a fixed forward voltage drop of roughly 0.5 volts -- meaning that it's very difficult to run a digital circuit much below 1 Volt. While their design can be tweaked here and there, it's tough to significantly lower the operating voltage. Nanotube transistors on the other hand can operate at very low voltages, reducing power consumption (and heat generation). I'm not sure if all of the kinks have been worked out to where they're economically viable -- but this is just one area where there's significant potential.
NoWorries From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 523 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1322 times:
Quoting Blackbird (Reply 12): How much of a benefit do those semi-conducting nanotubes provide over current silicon chips? 10x, 100x, 1,000x, 10,000x etc...
It's difficult to say -- nanotubes still have some of the same limitations that silicon devices do -- for example, the limits of the manufacturing process in making small features, as device size decreases quantum effects such as tunneling start to occur, etc. Their main benefits will likely be greater ability to custom-tune a device (transistor, diode, etc) to a specific situation, and the ability to handle power more efficiently.
From a broader perspective, as silicon starts to reach it's limits, manufacturers are looking at alternatives to silicon. For example, one possibility is traditional designs using new types of semiconductor material. Another area of interest is optical processing rather than electrical. Another possibility is the nanotubes already mentioned.
Quoting Blackbird (Reply 12): BTW: Is the Light-Emitting Nanotube like a microscopic-scale fiber-optic system?
When optical and electric devices are interfaced, one of the challenges is to efficiently convert electrical signals to light -- the other being to convert light back to an electrical singal. There are various ways to do that though doing it at the circuit level inside of a chip is rather challenging. The light-emitting nanotubes may present a very efficient way to do that.