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Honda Makes Nanotube Breakthrough

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the better-faster-stronger dept.

Hardware 88

SkinnyGuy writes "Carbon nanofibers and nanotubes are the future of computers, cars, energy and more, but it won't happen until someone figures out how to make carbon nanotubes more efficiently and in formations that can deliver enough energy and functionality to offer practical solutions for real-world problems. Honda's latest breakthrough could be the first step. Of course, Intel is working on similar carbon nanotube fabrication technology. Whoever finally delivers a practical solution, it sounds like a win-win for us."

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88 comments

Seems Wasteful (2, Insightful)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621915)

Use only as a pure conductive option? There should be so many more intelligent applications that could be used.

Re:Seems Wasteful (4, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622025)

You consider cheaper, more efficient power transmission, smaller, cheaper, more efficient motors, lighter, cheaper cars, etc. "unintelligent"? Ok, how about more efficient antennas for your cellphones leading to longer battery life? Surely you would consider that a Nobel-grade breakthrough!

Re:Seems Wasteful (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29622157)

That thought process works to dim the interest of the story, don't you think? Implementation into all of the technology you mentioned would take years. Hence, I'm more excited to hear that they have actually achieved a level of stability with the product, but simply for conductivity seems anti-climactic. I suppose I'm more interested and impressed with Intel's intentions.

Oh, yeah, and let us not forget...lighter and cheaper cars? RECENTLY the cost of a hybrid or electric car is becoming reasonable enough to pay for itself in a decade. Just because a tech is new and amazing doesn't mean that mean that a company won't milk it for all it worth until it gets much more widespread. I'm sure Honda is going to release a Prius upgraded with nanotubes for just a few thousand dollars, all on the basis of it being lighter weight and more efficient that current models (oh, and good for society, since corporations are so altruistic). Being naive about the price of any tech made for hipsters and early-adopters seems to be an "unintelligent" point of view.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622167)

That was a reply by me, BigSes, the original comment poster. I didn't realize I had been timed-out while I was away.

Re:Seems Wasteful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29632367)

Believe it or not, as tech gets lighter, better, more efficient etc it does come down in cost. Although not right away because of manufacturing, development and demand. Partially because of competition. Company A makes product x that's twice as good as product y by company B, suddenly company B price slashes and eventually company A follows suit. Think that computers haven't become more affordable for the common man since tech has gotten smaller and better?

I welcome the applications possible for electric vehicles, because, at least to me, they are a major change that's near on the horizon, hopefully one of the greatest achievements of this time period. Could open the avenue for small, quiet transportation methods, changing the way we get around. I know a very efficient lightweight bicycle being partially driven by electric power would sure beat out my car on many days.

What I find funny... (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624979)

What I find funny about all this is that Honda, the biggest, most anti-electric-vehicle automaker out there, may just have given electric vehicles the best gift they could have asked for. Not in terms of batteries, but in terms of nanotube-composite charging cables. Optimal metallic nanotubes have a resistivity a tiny fraction that of copper; they're practically room temperature superconductors, in terms of resistance. And it's directional, too -- the current flows readily down the length of the tubes, but poorly from side to side. I've seen varying numbers, and I think it depends on the types of tubes and their application, but this [electrical...ronics.org] article says that CNTs on microchips can carry 1,000 times the current density of copper and silver. Now, you won't get that extreme level in a composite, but those are still amazing numbers to have as a starting point.

In short, they're perfect for the ideal super-high-power charging cable. Far thinner, lighter, and less cooling needed for a given power output. You could probably have a cable off that monster 800kW charger Aerovironment made for TARDEC be light enough for a six year old to handle.

Obviously, the ultra-high-power chargers still need the typical battery buffer so that they don't strain the grid, but if metallic CNT cables hit the market, there will be some serious current flowing with a much lower charger size and cost. :)

Re:What I find funny... (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631249)

how is Honda a worse anti-electric vehicle than say, GM, who killed a production electric car? not arguing, i'm curious.

Re:What I find funny... (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632511)

That was years ago. Both are under different management now. GM is now resurrecting the electric car (at least, plug-in hybrids) and is making a huge push for EVs and EV infrastructure. Honda is taking every opportunity they can to dis EVs in every way imagineable in the press. They're big hydrogen backers. Due to a lack of progress on hydrogen, they finally (after years of refusing to) introduced plans to make an electric vehicle -- but not until 2015 (way behind pretty much everyone else but Audi). The California emissions requirements pretty much forced their hand.

Back in the early '00s, GM led the charge against EVs, and was probably the most anti-EV of the major automakers. They've completely reversed course since then. As of a year or so ago, the order of most anti-EV among the big automakers was probably Honda->Audi->Toyota. Now it's more like Audi->Honda->Toyota.

Re:What I find funny... (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655139)

It'll probably be 2015 before a decent EV car comes out anyway. Battery technology still isn't there.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 4 years ago | (#29625129)

If they make motors out of this stuff, only 91% of them will work ... (Yes, I know thats a crock full of s@#$, but still ;-) )

Re:Seems Wasteful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29625609)

Let me guess - this research wasn't done by Africans...

But "We're all the same", right?

Re:Seems Wasteful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630373)

George Washington Carver would find 100 ways to make you useful. However, he stuck to the peanut. Douche, one doesn't expect minorities to make major contributions; the fact that there are thousand of Africans working effectively as scientists suggest you haven't the brains to research simple subjects. Go home and read a book.

Yeah should feed trolls.

Re:Seems Wasteful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626597)

Ah, ha , ha! Let me know when fab'd tubes are price competitive with copper (yawn). Agreed a more efficient antennae is a good, green need but it might still be metal. {or maybe a simple signal amp would help, then again do the OEMs just wanna sell consummables?}

Re:Seems Wasteful (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622165)

Nanotubes can theoretically carry a current of 1 billion Amps/cm^2 which is over a thousand times the current at which Copper gets fried. THey are also lighter and far stronger than any other conductor we have tested. Upwards of 200x as strong as medium grade steel and 4x less dense. Not even superconductors can carry the amount of power we are talking about here as the magnetic fields created by such a current destroy the superconductivity of all known examples of superconductors well before this amount of current is reached.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624211)

blah.

Wake me up when I can head down to the market and buy a widget made with nanotubes. Because until then, it's all smoke, mirrors, grants, and lab reports.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624329)

You do realise, that the transistor was all smoke, mirrors, grants and lab reports until someone managed to actually make one, right?

Re:Seems Wasteful (2, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624607)

Wake me up when I can head down to the market and buy a widget made with nanotubes.

This is Slashdot ("news for nerds"). The site you seem to be looking for is Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org]. Everything discussed on that site is available for sale now, and they won't bother you with any of that horrible "science stuff".

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29641407)

I know very well where I am, #14640. I've been reading articles about nanotubes on Slashdot for as long as there has been a Slashdot.

It's simply been long enough that such articles are positively boring. It's like reading about Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29653791)

I know very well where I am, #14640. I've been reading articles about nanotubes on Slashdot for as long as there has been a Slashdot.

Cool... then you are probably aware of Slashdot's ability to let you skip articles you aren't interested in.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654175)

But then I'd miss the grandness of the announcement that nanotubes have, you know, become useful.

Re:Seems Wasteful (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651921)

Not even superconductors can carry the amount of power we are talking about here as the magnetic fields created by such a current destroy the superconductivity of all known examples of superconductors well before this amount of current is reached.

Are they more resistive but with a much greater ability to take the heat? How hot and resistive is this super-charged nanotube cable?

LOL @ Obama's Olympic failure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621923)

I guess the IOC wasn't excited about the prospect of athletes being beaten with pipes and boards by roving mobs of the Obama Youth.

Re:LOL @ Obama's Olympic failure (1, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622175)

...roving mobs of the Obama Youth.

Mr Gingrich, it's time to turn off the computer and take your meds.

Re:LOL @ Obama's Olympic failure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29622197)

Ms. Pelosi, it's time for your Botox injection. Gotta maintain that frozen smile!

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621939)

My ass is the future of computers, cars, energy and more, but it won't happen until someone figures out how to make my ass more efficiently and in formations that can deliver enough energy and functionality to offer practical solutions for real world problems.

Re:In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621955)

"We'll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn't realize how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is."

-- Gore Vidal

win-win (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621957)

Unless whoever gets it put a big fat expensive patent around it.

Re:win-win (2, Interesting)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622087)

This is why the Chinese are helpful to the technological world. If Intel or Honda makes a breakthrough and gets a patant. The Chinese will just copy is and sell it for dirt cheap. So the choice for consumers becomes Cheap and shady or Expensive and "clean" If Intel or Honda charge too much for their patent than cheap and shady will win. Its a ballance of powers.

Re:win-win (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622127)

What do you mean shady? Patents are something that shouldn't exist in the first place! There is nothing shady about ignoring them, especially if it's legal in the country of residence.

People should realise that invention is not A to B, but it is a feedback loop! If you make it hard to go from B to C, it's pointless!

Re:win-win (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624583)

Patents are something that shouldn't exist in the first place!

Without patents, there is a huge incentive to keep all commercializable discoveries and inventions secret, because that's the only way to prevent your competition from selling the product you invented more cheaply than you can (after all, you have to repay all the debts you incurred while inventing/perfecting your invention, and your competitors don't... all they have to do is obtain one unit and then duplicate it).

With patents, you are granted a temporary monopoly on your invention, and in return you publish the invention in the public record. After 14 years, the patent period ends, and now anyone can use your idea for free, forever.

In my opinion that's a better result than having the invention remain secret forever.... YMMV.

Re:win-win (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29625735)

Without patents, there is a huge incentive to keep all commercializable discoveries and inventions secret,

It doesn't work that way. The only way to keep it secret is to not sell it; as soon as you sell something, it can be first copied and later reverse-engineered and duplicated. These are the distribution-related problems patents were allegedly created to solve.

In my opinion that's a better result than having the invention remain secret forever.... YMMV.

You are committing the logical fallacy of false dichotomy. Given a choice between making some profit by selling an unpatented product, and no profit by not selling an unpatented product, the choice is fairly clear. Any product not produced because there is no patent protection is either obvious (which is why it's easy to copy) or a bullshit novelty. Anything else requires infrastructure to produce, and time to reverse-engineer.

Perhaps patents could be replaced by a law prohibiting selling outright copies, forcing competitors to reverse-engineer your work. They would still do this, so the technology would still be understood in time. Or maybe it's enough just to shorten their term; as we approach the technological singularity, developments should come closer together. Patent law is only slowing down this process; we should at minimum shorten patent terms to match the speed of progress.

Re:win-win (2, Insightful)

lokiomega (596833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626095)

Given a choice between making some profit by selling an unpatented product, and no profit by not selling an unpatented product, the choice is fairly clear.

Or more likely, losing money from R&D funds not being recouped from insufficient sales. Patents are a good idea by creating an incentive to innovate. It's the abuse of the patent system that's stalling creativity, not the system itself.

Re:win-win (2, Informative)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622159)

This is why the Chinese are helpful to the technological world. If Intel or Honda makes a breakthrough and gets a patant. The Chinese will just copy is and sell it for dirt cheap. So the choice for consumers becomes Cheap and shady or Expensive and "clean" If Intel or Honda charge too much for their patent than cheap and shady will win. Its a ballance of powers.

If a Chinese product infringes on an American patent, importing the product becomes illegal. So then they can sell it to India or Malaysia or whoever doesn't have that patent registered in their system. I don't really find that helpful.

Patents in the US only last about 20 years, but it's usually more expedient and profitable to license such a patent.

Re:win-win (1)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623761)

Its illegal to ship baby toys with lead covered paint in from China. That dosent mean it wont happen. This is particularly true for any kind of materials patent. It hard for a guy at customs to realize that a patent has been violated by a manufacturing process of a material used in a product. PS the technology life curve is much shorter than 20 years for many modern technologies. Thus a 20 year patent kills competition within the useful lifetime of many technologies. If you are given a patent by the government believe that you should be required to license it for a "reasonable rate"

Re:win-win (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622187)

people who own patents have to license them on fair, reasonable and non discriminatory terms. They can't prevent other people from licensing it by charging more than it is worth.

Re:win-win (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622261)

Nonsense. They'll sell and sell and sell. And profit and profit and profit.

Patents are only for a limited amount of time. The only way to exploit the patent (unless its a defensive patent) is to market it. You market it at the highest price the market will bear and then you reap the profits.

When the patent lapses, then the prices really drop.

Tech like this really is a win win.

Re:win-win (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623133)

Unless whoever gets it put a big fat expensive patent around it.

Of course they will. Which will make it more expensive for 20 years, but if the benefits are that great, it'll still be used. Worst case scenario is multiple companies get patents on different parts of the process and can't come to terms; then you have patent deadlock where no one can produce the product.

Re:win-win (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624429)

A patent can only protect you for so long in industry before someone comes up with some alternative idea that makes yours irrelevant except on purely 'intellectual' value. Researchers are constantly searching for multiple methods of finding some sort of technological solution; for example, there are multiple ways that people are investigating implementing nanoscale semiconductor particles (rods or dots) to enhance quantum efficiency in solid state organic photovoltaics, even though there are other methods that are far more efficient and promising. Why? cause it just sucks to have one way of doing things. Patents are just one reason, apart from others like feasibility, cost, etc. That's the value of researching for things that can be accomplished in multiple ways.

win-win-win (1)

abacaphiliac (1629927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621969)

... and a win-win-win for whoever develops it first ... given the fact that whoever comes up with a practical solution first will probably patent it, i wonder if the general public's gain is in this situation is factoring in corporate greed ... i would MAYBE call this a "win-win" situation in 50 years or so!

Re:win-win-win (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622053)

You would rather they didn't do the research?

Moron.

Re:win-win-win (1)

abacaphiliac (1629927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622169)

hey there mister nasty ... i didn't say i'd rather not ... i just have a different definition of "win win" ... :: insert nasty name here ::

Re:win-win-win (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622307)

hey there mister nasty ... i didn't say i'd rather not ... i just have a different definition of "win win" ... :: insert nasty name here ::

That's true.

win verb, won, winâ...ning, noun

1. to finish first in a race, contest, or the like.

2. to succeed by striving or effort: He applied for a scholarship and won.

3. to use the power of hope that new technologies magically materialize after incentives to spend ridiculous amounts of money to R&D that product have been eradicated in order to save the general public from paying a fair licensing fee.

Re:win-win-win (1)

abacaphiliac (1629927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622959)

thanks i think ... but again i was aiming for something a little different. you got about 20% points for effort though :P my HOPE is that someday we won't have to wait on patent regulations for ideas to become publicly accessible and usable so that innovation can continue unhindered. i don't know the future, maybe that is in store for nano-whatever already ... however, based on many events in the past i kind of doubt it and so that is where my hopes lie. it's not about technology magically materializing. despite your sarcasm there is a hint of truth in your third definition: it doesn't matter what the subject is, someone will build it, for free, just might take a little longer than would a ridiculously funded R & D team. so to YOU it may seem magical ... to me it is unsurprising, maybe frustrating that it takes so long ... but it takes so long either way from my perspective. either we wait 50 years on a freebie solution ... or we wait 50 years for the patented-pay-out-your-ass solution to fall under public domain. so there. thank you "child" posters for making me see that i need to be much more clear in my initial posts or else i will be hounded after with, for the most part, unhelpful remarks. that's what i get for being a noob :P

Re:win-win-win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29623087)

my HOPE is that someday we won't have to wait on patent regulations for ideas to become publicly accessible and usable so that innovation can continue unhindered. i don't know the future, maybe that is in store for nano-whatever already ... however, based on many events in the past i kind of doubt it and so that is where my hopes lie. it's not about technology magically materializing. despite your sarcasm there is a hint of truth in your third definition: it doesn't matter what the subject is, someone will build it, for free, just might take a little longer than would a ridiculously funded R & D team. so to YOU it may seem magical ... to me it is unsurprising, maybe frustrating that it takes so long ... but it takes so long either way from my perspective.

In an ideal world, I'd like to agree with you, but money has proven to be a great motivator.

but it takes so long either way from my perspective. either we wait 50 years on a freebie solution ... or we wait 50 years for the patented-pay-out-your-ass solution to fall under public domain.

With your preference, we don't get the technology as soon. Worse, we don't see the alternatives that could turn out to be better.

so there. thank you "child" posters for making me see that i need to be much more clear in my initial posts or else i will be hounded after with, for the most part, unhelpful remarks. that's what i get for being a noob :P

I'm not sure what's so unhelpful about the remarks to your comment. Okay, calling you a 'moron' wasn't cool, but the dude did point out the consequences of your view. Mine was like his, but contained a little more detail. And this last one, well you can be bitter if you like, but I hope it'll cause you to go back and rethink the benefits of the system we have now. Rewarding innovation doesn't automatically harm the public. (Altho an automatic public harmer would be patenatble..)

Re:win-win-win (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623779)

my HOPE is that someday we won't have to wait on patent regulations for ideas to become publicly accessible and usable so that innovation can continue unhindered.

If you really want to see innovation unhindered, patents should be protected, to the fullest extent of the law. Very few innovations come about because (or at least mainly because) the innovator wants to make the world a better place for future generations. Most innovations come about because someone (either an individual, a government, or a corporation) sees a need in society and identifies a way to "monetize" that need, as the jargon goes. Of course, the way governments normally profit from such innovations is by getting the people in charge of different departments re-elected, but the principle is the same: It's not normally an altruistic exercise.

Removal of patents would be a serious disincentive to make these kinds of breakthroughs -- and especially these kinds of breakthroughs. Large organizations aren't going to waste their time on research that can be stolen right from under their noses, and this isn't the kind of thing someone is going to jerry-rig in his/her basement for $100.

Where the real problem is with patents is what people/institutions are allowed to patent. IMHO, it's insane to allow a naturally-occurring gene to be patented, but it's apparently happened before. That's the kind of nonsense that needs to stop, rather than the legitimate, novel innovations that inventors come up with.

Purging Articles (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621993)

Slashdot purges article about Google purging Pirate bay. A little bit hypocritical, eh?

Nanotubes... (2, Funny)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622063)

Useful for everything, used in nothing.

Re:Nanotubes... (4, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622133)

First of all that isn't quite true. Nanotubes are now used as the tips of some STMs, bucky paper composites, single nanotube transistors and a few others. THe major hurdle to the widespread use of nanotubes is solely due to their high cost. They are about ~1000$/gram the last time I checked so really they'd need to be pretty special to justify that kind of cost.

Re:Nanotubes... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622221)

It wasn't quite true, but it was quite funny.
Which do you think the poster was going for, truth or funny?

Re:Nanotubes... (3, Interesting)

dhovis (303725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622259)

If you can show me a shipping product with a single nanotube transistor, I'll eat my hat. STM tips are a pretty limited market. I can't find any references to commercial buckypaper composities either.

We actually have a buckyball (C60) ion gun for use with our Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (TOF-SIMS). As far as I know, these ion guns are the only existing commercial use for buckyballs. It isn't exactly a huge market.

Fullerenes have been around for nearly 25 years now. It they had anything more than hype, they'd be commercialized by now. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but none of the press releases I've ever read about fullerenes has lead to anything more than another press release.

Re:Nanotubes... (2, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623177)

Fullerenes have been around for nearly 25 years now. It they had anything more than hype, they'd be commercialized by now.

You could say the same about aluminum before development of the Bayer process, or titanium prior to the Kroll process. This could be the equivalent for nanotubes.

But, probably not...

Re:Nanotubes... (1)

dhovis (303725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623293)

Fullerenes have been around for nearly 25 years now. It they had anything more than hype, they'd be commercialized by now.

You could say the same about aluminum before development of the Bayer process, or titanium prior to the Kroll process. This could be the equivalent for nanotubes.

But, probably not...

I don't dispute that at all. When/if someone develops that "Bayer"-type process for nanotubes, they'll make a billion dollars and win a Nobel prize. Until then, fullerenes remain hype.

Re:Nanotubes... (1)

benhattman (1258918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29640283)

I don't know, flight had been around for millions of years before anyone discovered a commercially viable approach suitable for human consumption. The idea of mechanical computation devices was around for a century before it became viable even in military applications. Cotton used to be prohibitively expensive for hundreds of years as well.

Sometimes there is simply a nontrivial step that needs to be worked out before a technology can be exploited at a useful scale.

Re:Nanotubes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29623605)

Also they used carbon nanotubes in Damascus swords.

Re:Nanotubes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29637523)

so who is looking into the possible health effects of nanogunk, either production waste or the actual products themselves?

given my background in biochemistry, I'm concerned that we're incautiously building the next asbestos/generic toxic waste disaster.

Not a breakthrough... (1)

WeekendKruzr (562383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622201)

The Slashdot summary is the only place that this piece of incremental experimentation is referred to as a breakthrough. I'm getting tired of every little news stores that has anything to do with nano-(fill_in_the_blank) being labeled a breakthrough.

Filtering? (3, Interesting)

pitterpatter (1397479) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622235)

TFA speaks of filtering the semiconducting fibers from the conducting ones as if this might be a big deal. I would have thought that magnetic separation would be the obvious solution. Am I missing something?

The physical behavior of a conductor moving with respect to a magnetic field is so dramatically different than that of a non-conductor that I have to believe that a semiconductor would behave differently also.

My favorite demo of this effect is to drop a strong magnet through a section of aluminum conduit. The magnet falls normally when released next to but outside the pipe, but a strong magnet can take up to five minutes to fall through the inside. A cow magnet [wikipedia.org]in a half inch pipe is particularly effective.

Re:Filtering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29624203)

The reason what you suggest is impractical is because we want to be able to grow CNTs of a certain chirality and keep them there. If we filter them, somehow we would have to put them all back where we wanted them and that would take forever.

Re:Filtering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29624317)

Physics behaves very differently at the nanoscale. Carbon nanotubes are a truly one dimensional electron system, which is something unimaginable at the macroscale. Chemical bonding and forces best described by quantum mechanics dominate at this scale, so magnetic separation isn't feasible.

I can see it now... (1)

lopaka1998 (1352441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622249)

I can see it now... A team of assembly women who all look exactly like 7 of 9. Maybe Honda isn't such a bad place to work after all!

it sounds like a win-win for us... until (0, Flamebait)

Annorax (242484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622329)

it turns out that nanotube technology causes cancer on a hugemongous scale and it wipes out the human race.

Re:it sounds like a win-win for us... until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29623749)

Actually this is a valid concern. Not sure why it was modded as flame bait.

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29622341)

Its a win-win until this technology gets slapped with copyright patent trademarks and all sorts of other legal bullshit making it cost an arm and a leg for anyone else to produce.

cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29622435)

so who do we sue when we start getting cancer?

A perfect solution. (4, Interesting)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622487)

Lets imagine for a second a future where our 'pollution' is the base building material for the majority of products constructed.

Carbon nanotubes/fibers could be the perfect sequestering medium/method for all the CO2 in the atmosphere. They have already shown to be such a useful product, we are continually finding new ways to make use of them. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that only iron has proven to be as diverse.

If mass-production ever takes off I suggest we proclaim this to be the birth of the Carbon age.

Re:A perfect solution. (1)

Shard.Oglass666 (1507693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623607)

You mean like using fly ash to be mixed into cement to create geopolymer concrete? Doing so will solve a big pollution problem worldwide.

Re:A perfect solution. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29625055)

Not really, since it's been done for a long time. Automotive putty typically has fly ash in it. The heavier stuff often ends in in "cinder blocks" to be used as a building material.

Re:A perfect solution. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624687)

Until someone notices that it has the same effect on the lungs as asbestos. Just some orders of magnitude stronger, because it can enter the blood and cells. :P

(Ok, "until" as in "20 years, millions of deaths and billions of dollars for officials later".)

Re:A perfect solution. (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29625079)

That's is a well known problem with small fibres which people have been keeping in mind with this sort of research for 40 years or so.

Wood is made of carbon removed from the air (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629131)

Assuming we replant, isn't this the case now with products that come from trees?

Just how many uses of carbon nanotubes are there?? (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623023)

It seems like every news announcement out there about material science advances involves carbon nanotubes. Is there anything they can't do???

Possible uses :
1. As an ideal semiconductor
2. As an ideal, super-lightweight conductor
3. As a drug delivery device
4. As an antibiotic
5. As a super strong space elevator cable
6. As the tip of an SEM
7. In electrically conductive clothing
8. As a super-strong super armor
9. Part of a super capacitor
10. Part of a super fast charging lithium ion battery
11. Part of a super-efficient solar cell

And like 50 uses besides! What CAN'T you do with carbon nanotubes? Cure cancer? No, I think someone is working on that....

If this was the technology tree in a strategy game, carbon nanotubes would be THE tech to research to unlock the good stuff.

Did I follow the right link? (1)

TerrenceCoggins (1601371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623193)

I think I'm lost because I Googled, "Diluting the word breakthrough," and was linked directly to this article. Well, since I read the article and I'm already commenting I might as well ask: just how closer are we (in measurable terms) to cheap, easily-manufactured materials that (aside from being so green it gives captain planet a hard-on) are as versatile as they are (so very) useful that we may apply it -- not unlike one applies pixie dust -- to our computers, video games, cars, economy, hopes and dreams to knock those things up a few notches? Or have we (dare I say) not reached a "breakthrough" in this respect... again?

Ultracapacitors (2, Interesting)

questionableswami (1595159) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623489)

The one place where nanotubes might be of the most benefit is boosting the storage in ultracapacitors. The technology [theinquirer.net] is making advances [cleantech.com] towards the point where they might match or surpass batteries.

Are?? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29624673)

Correctly it is:

Carbon nanofibers and nanotubes could be the future of computers, cars, energy and more,

Because we do not know if we can actually solve the problems that stop us from preferring to use them until now.

Simple logic. Apparently the opposite of what simple minds use. :/

Let's go to the south pacific. I have a earthquake to provoke, and a door to open. :P

Almost win-win (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626567)

"Whoever finally delivers a practical solution, it sounds like a win-win for us"

Not unless these patents expire and IP rights become public domain.... Then its a win-win

I explained my view of this to my uncle (1)

anticharisma (1431855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626847)

He reckoned I was crazy, when I said that in the nearish future city buildings will likely be constructed of man made materials produced at a molecular level, and designed to replace the predominant construction materials and be cheaper and stronger exhibit better properties etc that the norm of glass steel and concrete. Seriously this seems logical and inevitable enough to me, but it seems the man on the street doesnt get it yet.

Do not inhale (1)

Eclipse-now (987359) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633521)

OK, so there's a car wreck and there is nano-dust everywhere. How hazardous is this stuff to inhale, get on your skin, etc? Asbestosis anyone? What about cleaning it up?

Is there a 'peer reviewed' medical consensus on the health effects yet? I mean, there's that scene where hostile nano-bots are being turned into 'dead toner' in Diamond Age, but forget hostile nano-bots... what about just plain nano-dust in your lungs?

Re:Do not inhale (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29636213)

Is there a 'peer reviewed' medical consensus on the health effects yet?

No, there isn't. I wrote a mini document review on in vivo and in vitro effect of fullerenes and nanotuves, and while nanotubes do exhibit cytotoxic activity, the concentrations involved seem un-realistic, but all the experiments were very short term. In vitro experiments seem more conclusive (nanotubes == bad), but that does not necessarily imply that in real life, nanotubes would meaningfully reach the cells to the same extent as in the experiment.

Besides, there is another problem: scientists involved with CNTs have an ego-problem confessing that their baby may be a killer - so they just block that tought out. I have seen that.

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