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NASA Creates Super-Black Carbon Nanotube Coating

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the none-more-black dept.

Space 132

An anonymous reader writes "NASA has just revealed a new, super-black material, claiming it is the most light absorbent material ever developed, and capable of absorbing 99% of ultraviolet, infrared, far-infrared, and visible light. The super-black material is about 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and created using carbon nanotubes. Those nanotubes are positioned and grown on multiple other materials including silicon, stainless steel, and titanium. The process of applying the coating requires heating the surface up to 1,382 degrees in an oven filled with a 'carbon-coating feedstock gas.' As well as being up to 100x more absorbent than anything that has come before, the coating is significantly lighter than the black paint and epoxy commonly used today to absorb light. Because the light absorption level is so high, the super-black material will also keep temperatures down for the instruments it is used on. And that very high absorption rate brings one final big advantage: it allows measurements to be taken at much greater distances in space because it removes the light emitted from around planets and stars as well as any generally high-contrast area of space."

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Nanotubes Thet Don't Crack (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006518)

Black don't crack. And neither will these nanotubes.

Re:Nanotubes Thet Don't Crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006682)

SUPER BLACK

In other news... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006942)

...new super black nanotube found to have mysteriously large penis

This just in (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38008666)

Guy who modded this -1 is just jealous hes not black

My God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006538)

... it's full of stars!

Re:My God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006620)

dohohoho !

Re:My God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007846)

bwahahahahaha !

Picture (4, Funny)

leetrout (855221) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006550)

Here's a photo of it. In the middle, kinda hard to make out http://f.cl.ly/items/1S2W2w3X0z13450i440Z/black.jpg [f.cl.ly]

Re:Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006626)

Magnificient!
Yep... It's black!

Re:Picture (3, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006678)

Here's a photo of it. In the middle, kinda hard to make out http://f.cl.ly/items/1S2W2w3X0z13450i440Z/black.jpg [f.cl.ly]

That's obviously been photoshopped.

Re:Picture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006788)

Looks like Hotblack Desiato's stunt ship.

Re:Picture (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009188)

I feel sick.

"Paging Mr Desiato, your limo is ready..." (4, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009328)

Zaphod's attention however was elsewhere. His attention was riveted on the ship standing next to Hotblack Desiato's limo. His mouths hung open.

"That," he said, "that ... is really bad for the eyes ..."

Ford looked. He too stood astonished.
It was a ship of classic, simple design, like a flattened salmon, twenty yards long, very clean, very sleek. There was just one remarkable thing about it.

"It's so ... black!" said Ford Prefect, "you can hardly make out its shape ... light just seems to fall into it!"

Zaphod said nothing. He had simply fallen in love.
The blackness of it was so extreme that it was almost impossible to tell how close you were standing to it.

"Your eyes just slide off it ..." said Ford in wonder. It was an emotional moment. He bit his lip.

Re:Picture (0)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007850)

That's not super black. This [aforkliftc...cation.com] is super black.

Re:Picture (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008348)

What the hell is that site about?

Re:Picture (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008414)

Hell if I know, but it was the first one that came up when I googled "black superman".

Re:Picture (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008900)

Its a good find

Re:Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38008012)

I hovered over this link for so long (at work) thinking i bet its goatse.....but i just had to click!

Re:Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38008464)

Wow. Just.... wow. JPEG, seriously?

1,382 degrees F (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006572)

Since the scale wasn't mentioned, unless you read TFA.

Hmm. This would be awesomes for people who put solar heat collectors on their roofs in the Great White North. I wonder how soon it can be done affordably.

Better market prospect for that than Solyndra.

Re:1,382 degrees F (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006618)

You teabaggers never quit, do you? Solyandra wasn't a scandal, it was an attempt to do things right! If you could do things your way, you'd defund NASA completely and then we wouldn't even have this new miracle material. Can we keep the politics out of the science threads, please?

Re:1,382 degrees F (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006888)

Casual mention of Solyndra == 'teabagger'?

Guess what; controversial topics often provide memes people will occasionally reference. If your training has your knee jerking wildly when you encounter this then that's your problem. Disengage dick mode and stop jumping on people because a blemish was discovered on your preferred politician.

Re:1,382 degrees F (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006918)

You teabaggers never quit, do you? Solyandra wasn't a scandal, it was an attempt to do things right!

Yes yes, guaranteeing a loan that your own accountants say can't be payed back, because the company has no business plan and is losing money hand over fist is "doing things right".

Solyndra the technology was mildly interesting, but not particularly special. Solyndra the business was a train wreck, and should never have gotten the loan guarantee. But hey, the government handing out tax dollars for corrupt, selfish reasons has only been happening for a few millenia now, so it's still kind of a new concept, I can see how you'd be shocked at the prospect.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007324)

Solyandra wasn't a scandal, it was an attempt to do things right!

More people realize that than you think. I deal with a couple of people who are big conservative types. You know the business leader/chamber of commerce guys who think everyone should work for minimum wage except "their type" of person and another is a corporate lawyer who "smells the glove" if you get my drift. Even they can't gripe about the Solyndra stuff with a straight face.

I don't think the GP was necessarily a teabagger, just someone rhetorically sloppy who's probably heard "Solyndra" mentioned a few times and doesn't know any of the background. He probably doesn't take the time to look underneath any of the claims he hears on the corporate media and just repeats what he hears as truth.

Can we keep the politics out of the science threads, please?

I understand your frustration, but science and technology are issues where politics are most important. Politics determines everything about the decisions that are made in those areas. We had a bunch down in Mississippi who wanted to have a constitutional amendment saying that personhood begins at conception for chrissake. Forget about any kind of embryonic stem cells, but they would have the bathrooms where women suffer miscarriages treated as crime scenes. A woman with an ectopic pregnancy might be handcuffed to the bed to make sure she doesn't run away to Alabama to get an abortion so she doesn't die. It's gotten to that point. Fortunately, even the far-right folks in Mississippi defeated this measure overwhelmingly, showing that even in ground zero for craziness, there are lines that people won't cross, thank goodness.

So it's not so much that you don't want politics in science threads, but you don't want dumb AM-radio political nonsense in science threads. If someone wants to say "I don't think it's the place of government to get involved with supporting technology" that's one thing. Saying "there can't be global warming because it was cold last week" is another thing entirely.

Re:1,382 degrees F (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008644)

I'm curious. Where exactly do you draw the line for 'life begins', and why?

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008816)

Where exactly do you draw the line for 'life begins', and why?

Wherever the mother says it does.

Because it's hers.

And don't bother, I won't answer any reductio ad absurdum followup question.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009540)

Why bother replying at all?

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011300)

Because feeding the Trolls is entertaining... if you can keep them outside until sunrise....

Re:1,382 degrees F (2, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008884)

Where exactly do you draw the line for 'life begins', and why?

Well, I don't know what the OP would say, but in scientific circles, the question was quite clearly answered back in the mid-1800s, by Louis Pasteur et al. And the clear answer was: It doesn't. We may not know what happened 4.5 billion years ago when our planet was young, but today it's rather well determined that life only continues as a branch of earlier life.

This applies to us humans as it does to everything else living on the planet. The instance of fertilization of an ovum by a sperm doesn't create a new life; it merges two previous living creatures into a single living creature. The participants are at all times alive, and no new life is created.

And note that human ova and sperm are quite definitely human. Straightforward DNA tests will verify this.

The whole religious issue of when "life" begins is bogus. It doesn't. At least, not on our planet. People who claim it does simply don't understand how our reproductive process works. (This doesn't prevent them from reproducing, of course; they don't need to understand for it to work.)

Now I'll wander off, humming Every Sperm is Sacred ...

Re:1,382 degrees F (2)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009074)

Yes, this guy has it right. "When does life begin" is a dumb question. If it wasn't, people wouldn't be able to argue about it endlessly. As for whether it's "ok" for a host to kill a half-formed human... probably not. But I'll never be a host, so what do I know.

Re:1,382 degrees F (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38010308)

It wouldn't be so dumb if "life" was more rigorously defined. I prefer to use "able to procreate" as part of the definition, so that anything that hasn't reached sexual maturity isn't considered alive.

Re:1,382 degrees F (2)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011246)

I prefer to use "able to procreate" as part of the definition, so that anything that hasn't reached sexual maturity isn't considered alive.

It could be fun to argue for such a definition of "when life begins". It immediately follows from this definition that it's OK to kill a child that hasn't reached puberty. Somehow, I sorta suspect that a lot of people wouldn't be comfortable with this.

OTOH, there's an old Jewish joke, to the effect that kids aren't considered living human beings until they get their medical or law degree.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009560)

Yes, as I attempted to clarify in the thread, I was really interested in personhood, as that's both what the parent posted about, and what I was actually interested in the answer to. 'life begins' is an unfortunate common proxy for 'personhood begins', and conflating the two makes the science side of the argument useless, so I'm sorry for the habit-typo.

Personhood is really what's of interest ... when does the thing that could become a person ... do so (and thus obviously gain the rights to protection from murder from our society).

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009000)

Spring break as a teenager kinda sticks out in my mind...

Why??? (lost in happy thoughts)

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008652)

Sorry, my other reply should have said 'personhood'.

Re:1,382 degrees F (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008848)

Sorry, my other reply should have said 'personhood'.

Same answer.

It's entirely in the mother's hands. As it has always been.

I can tell you this much: nothing that is inside a woman's body can ever be considered a separate person. Until it is born, it is the mother.

Childbirth is an important event, no matter what the pro-life movement would have you believe. That's when we start counting a human being's age. That's when the child is given a birth certificate. That's when it's a person.

A fetus becomes a person when it is born. No halfsies, no almost, no "nearly there". Until that time, it is part of the woman's body, and entirely under her dominion. And I don't care if she's 13 or 65.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006648)

Yeah, if this absorbs from ultraviolet to infrared that well then how much heat would it transfer? If you have an air gap of inner and outer walls in a research station in the north or south poles with this material lining the inner wall would it re-absorb much of the lost heat? Would layering this stuff between air gaps suck in more heat than you lose in temperatures that cold?

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006732)

Yeah, if this absorbs from ultraviolet to infrared that well then how much heat would it transfer? If you have an air gap of inner and outer walls in a research station in the north or south poles with this material lining the inner wall would it re-absorb much of the lost heat? Would layering this stuff between air gaps suck in more heat than you lose in temperatures that cold?

Well, my father, a CE, had a friend who build a large collector for his roof, back in the 1970's. He collected aluminum cans, cut the tops and bottoms off, halved them and anodized the inside of the halves in some fashion. He arranged these as an air path in a frame on the roof of his house, southern exposed and used a small fan to run a current of air through it. Free heating during the day and it worked quite well for far less than running the furnace.

Forward to today and an enterprising company could get in on the ground floor of this technology and establish itself well before Chinese competitors show up and try to cut their legs off from under them (as happened to Solyndra.)

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009142)

Would layering this stuff between air gaps suck in more heat than you lose in temperatures that cold?

Unfortunately not; such a hypothetical material would allow you to create a temperature difference out of nothing. The best way to limit radiative heat transfer is by having two reflective surfaces, such as aluminum foil. In addition to that, you need to prevent heat transfer due to air convection. That's why thermostat flasks are vacuum and shiny on the inside.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38010380)

I did wonder about the exact temperature required and naturally assumed it was a carefully controlled centigrade temperature. Of course, it's just another case of mis-conversion from one unit to another. 1382 F is the exact conversion from 750 C, a value only given to 2 sf. 1400 F would be a more appropriate conversion if you have to convert it at all.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011286)

I wonder how soon it can be done affordably.

Got a kiln capable of a controlled 1382 degrees (Farenheit), and a source of "carbon coating feedstock gas"? Sounds like an extremely affordable process already.

Re:1,382 degrees F (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011388)

And 1382F implies a precision that isn't there. I highly doubt the process needs to be heated to the exact degree. This is simply a conversion from 750 degrees Celsius. Most likely 750 is rounded and would be +/-5, which is +/-41 F. If they were going to convert then 1380F would have been more informative or even 1400F.

The act of conversion from on unit to another does not add precision.

None more black (1)

Ugarte (42783) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006614)

One of the first uses will be the cover of the "Smell The Glove" re-issue

Re:None more black (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006694)

Just in time for Nigel Tufnel Day [yahoo.com] .

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is: 'None. None more black.' "

Best rock movie ever.

Re:None more black (2)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011146)

What a thread! Douglas Adams and SpınÌal Tap all in one!

Re:None more black (2)

bosef1 (208943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007650)

Why'd you make him black?
Because I wanted him to be perfect.

Re:None more black (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38011352)

So, is Carbon Nanotube Coating the new Black?

How long before this hits the runwyas in Milan?

this is very old news. (2, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006642)

Seriously, this was released to the media about 3 years or so ago, and touted as "scientists create blackest material ever".

Here is a link to a wired magazine article from march 2009:

http://m.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/03/ultrablack/ [wired.com]

Must be a slow news week.

Re:this is very old news. (1)

Ugarte (42783) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006686)

wow you're right... someone even made my very dumb joke about 2 years or so ago

Re:this is very old news. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006816)

Shut up you fucking cunt.

Re:this is very old news. (2)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006704)

Just your normal slashdot news cycle. 3 years is a fairly short cycle, because of all the editorial work and verification that they do.

Re:this is very old news. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007252)

seriously, try actually reading the article. It clearly states that they have improved the absorption by 10 to 100 times over previous nanotube coatings, and improved the wavelength range by 50 times.

Even older than that (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008132)

It was first developed, to the best of my knowledge, jointly by researchers at RPI and Rice in Jan 2008. Here's their presentation [cormusa.org] and here's a link [rpi.edu] showing the date.

In fact, their material is ten times darker than the one apparently developed by NASA, with a reflectivity of 0.05% compared to NASA's 0.5%.

Re:Even older than that (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009624)

Great article, thanks for sharing.
BTW, correction: the article states 0.045% no .05% you were 10% off!

Re:Even older than that (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011344)

Great article, thanks for sharing.
BTW, correction: the article states 0.045% no .05% you were 10% off!

Depends on what you care about, if it's a reflection stopper in a telescope tube, then, yes, 10%. If it's something normal humans use like a solar energy collector, then it's 0.005%, or about the same effect as a single bird dropping on a 1000 sq ft collector surface.

Re:this is very old news. (1)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008280)

I just heard a seminar from the guy who discovered nanotubes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumio_Iijima [wikipedia.org] ), and it's pretty amazing with all the various properties the tubes have. He showed us some, and it was black (and he talked about this). He also mentioned that they would be the future for smartphone touch screens but that Apple was reluctant to use them in the latest iPhone.

Now when his group or some other researchers discover a thin material black enough to block gamma wavelengths, then we'll be talking.

Re:this is very old news. (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009608)

Still it's nice to have some proper "news for nerds" once in a while.

solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006656)

i wonder if this stuff will find applications in night-vision cloaking (far infrared), or in making more efficient solar cells by absorbing nearly all useful incident light?

could it be used on CCD arrays to make them more light-sensitive?

Re:solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006710)

i wonder if this stuff will find applications in night-vision cloaking (far infrared)

Unless this material has some new property, wouldn't it also radiate better than any other material?

Re:solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007070)

Unless this material has some new property, wouldn't it also radiate better than any other material?

It probably -- but not necessarily -- has high emissivity to match its high absorbency. It almost certainly does not have low emissivity.

Which means when used in far-infrared astronomical observations, the telescope would still have to be cooled to extremely low temperatures to minimize the emissions from the surface. It would still have the advantage of not reflecting infrared from other sources into the telescope.

And yeah, it'd be useless for infrared cloaking, where the entire problem is emitted light from your heat. If you could cool yourself off to prevent this, then you wouldn't need this coating.

Re:solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007556)

It probably -- but not necessarily -- has high emissivity to match its high absorbency

* At the frequencies in question.

Re:solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006772)

I doubt it would be useful for IR cloaking. To conceal your IR signature you want to imitate your surroundings, not stand out as the blackest thing against a relatively moderate background. It's probably on the wrong scale to be useful for radar cloaking too, but you never know.

Unless the nanotubes are themselves used as collectors, this would be pretty bad when used in a solar cell application as well. In that situation you want reflectance on any surfaces near the solar collector elements.

Someone above mentioned insulation. It's probably a very expensive but excellent application in that case. Superblack on the outside, reflective on the inside and you'd have a virtual oven.

Re:solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007032)

It *is* possible to create nanotube based semiconductors by carefully introducing latice defects into the tube walls. (Creates a nanotube diode)

Sorry, paywalled:
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.matsci.34.040203.112300 [annualreviews.org]

Combined, the two technologies could be used to fashion an absurdly efficient solar collector. The problem is that not all photons are created equally, and that absorbed spectra might not carry sufficient energy to hop the bandgap. This would only cause the nanotubes to get hot, and reemit the photons only to be captured again by the neighbors.

Perhaps if total energy absorption is high enough, then multiple photons could be used to hop the gap, (like in red light on chlorophyll) but that would have to be some strange juju.

Re:solar panels, CCDs or camouflage? (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007268)

I'd like to see a spin off of it that can absorb cosmic rays easily, then we could coat our spacecrafts with it. You know -- when we have them again.... :-\

Cancer be damned! (1)

itsenrique (846636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006708)

I think I've just found the material I want for the pigment of my next tattoo.

Re:Cancer be damned! (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011378)

I think I've just found the material I want for the pigment of my next tattoo.

1400 degrees F, man, if you thought needles were painful....

Complicated manufacturing process (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006760)

Why don't they just buy a 1300$ Makerbot? I've been assured by Slashdotters that "3D printing", as embodied in a stolen design of a glue gun at the end of a stepper motor's shaft, will not only revolutionize manufacturing (of everything, I suppose, they never specified), but also home manufacturing. And I suppose that means both manufacturing stuff in your home, and 3D printing of concrete to print the home itself.

So the mind boggles why NASA would use such weird old ideas like physics, chemistry and machinery?

(And in case you don't get it, I'm mocking the overly naive and enthusiastic geeks that seem to flock to unrealistic ideas)

Re:Complicated manufacturing process (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007798)

And the cocksuckers mod me down. How can they find enough time between setting up their cabin on Mars next to Elon Musk's mansion, and 3D printing space stations?

let's get Super PC here... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006818)

...it ain't black, it's charcoal grey.
<g>

Re:let's get Super PC here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38006868)

nanotube-american

XKCD (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38006968)

This sounds like the perfect material to cover up those pesky stars. [xkcd.com]

do they think US readers are stupid? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007014)

1,382 degrees ? how exactly did they come up with that number? Here is Google at help:
1,382F = 750 C

Re:do they think US readers are stupid? (1)

qubezz (520511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007776)

Even if they can't do significant figures, at least they told us how big they are in International Hair-Thickness Units...

Didn't they.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007022)

.... used to call that stuff soot?

Re:Didn't they.. (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007102)

While soot contains nanotubes, it also contains other fullerenes, and amorphous carbon microparticles.

This subsrance, on the other had, is nothing but nanotubes, and in a very densely packed, and orderly configuration.

Devil in the details and all that.

heat (1)

MetalOne (564360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007234)

The article states: "The blacker the material, the more heat it radiates away." I always thought that since black materials don't reflect light that they absorb heat. I have always heard that black clothes and black cars are hotter. However, I once read that the Blackbird SR-71 was painted black for the cooling effect. Could someone make sense of this for me?

Re:heat (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007488)

Black is both a better radiator [wikipedia.org] , and a better absorber. As for the SR-71 [wikipedia.org] "Finished aircraft were painted a dark blue, almost black to increase the emission of internal heat (fuel acted as a heat sink for avionics cooling) and to act as camouflage against the night sky." So, it was a combination of things.

Re:heat (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38009932)

ISTR reading about the composite skin on newer stealth aircraft; these skins are laminated carbon fibre with surface profiles similar to golf balls, designed to both absorb and scatter RADAR to give the aircraft the RADAR profile of a sparrow or similar. Think also really, really expensive fishing pole or reinforced carbon-carbon yacht hulls (which use the surface characteristics to create an air bubble across the entire surface of the hull during motion to reduce friction between it and the water).

Re:heat (1)

timnbron (1166139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008220)

The infra red space telescopes are positioned out of the sun ('behind' the earth) in order to keep cool. However, there's still the heat from the electronics, and there's no way to get rid of that apart from by radiating the heat away. Black radiates well, hence colouring it black will keep the spacecraft cool.

In sunlight, more heat is coming in than going out, hence black cars get hot, and normal spacecraft are coloured silver (or similar) to make them highly reflective and bounce the heat off. (Even those spacecraft will often have dark surfaces on the other side in order to keep cool.)

I'm guessing that the Blackbird SR-71 got so hot with the engines, that painting it black would result in far more heat radiated than the sun would put back in. It's all a matter of balancing heat in and heat out.

The summary is a little wrong: "Because the light absorption level is so high, the super-black material will also keep temperatures down for the instruments it is used on." I think that should be "Because the heat radiation level is so high, the super-black material will also keep temperatures down for the instruments it is used on."

Re:heat (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011402)

I'm guessing that the Blackbird SR-71 got so hot with the engines.

At Mach 3+, you get significant heating from friction with the passing air (thus, ablative heat shields on re-entry capsules, shuttle insulation tiles, etc.)

The fun part about the Blackbird was the way it leaked fuel... it's worth doing a little reading about the Blackbird, it's one of the more radical machines ever built, and far more entertaining than refined chimney soot.

Paint it Black (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007338)

I see nanotubes and I want them painted black...

it won't have any reflection as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007368)

if don't, i think this material must look surreal, like some sort of "inserted cartoon" in the reality.

Supercain (1)

anarkhos (209172) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007622)

The Republican party is now researching ways to allow candidates to withstand temperatures of 1,382.

(You might need to be a Daily Show viewer to understand...)

Fuligin (1)

jmcharry (608079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007624)

Being the color of Severian's cloak in Shadow of the Torturer.

Light absorbing = cooler? (1)

NichardRixon (869899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007796)

If the nanotubes absorb light, wouldn't instruments coated with the material tend to get warmer rather than stay cooler?

NR

Re:Light absorbing = cooler? (1)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008016)

it's thinner so it allows for faster thermal disipation. less mass to act like an insulator.

Re:Light absorbing = cooler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38008478)

I had the same thought for about 2 seconds, then i RTFA

Currently, instrument developers apply black paint to baffles and other components to help prevent stray light from ricocheting off surfaces. However, black paints absorb only 90 percent of the light that strikes it. The effect of multiple bounces makes the coating’s overall advantage even larger, potentially resulting in hundreds of times less stray light.>
IOW this is applied to shielding, not the actual part they want to keep cool, then they radiate the collected heat away.

Hotblack Desioto's limo can't be far behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38007968)

Put your analyst on danger money baby, now.

So.. it's Blacker than Black? (1)

koreys (2047558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008200)

"There is none Blacker"

Re:So.. it's Blacker than Black? (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008320)

Does it go to eleven?

Oblig Spinal Tap Quote (2)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008322)

"It's like, how much more black could it be? And the answer is none, none more black."

Space my ass... (1)

Jozza The Wick (1805012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008512)

They're gonna paint the new Stealth Fighter with it. Or, they already have a 99.999% version ready to go for the B-3 Opportunity...

Full-scale pics! (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38008760)

I'm more interested in seeing what the material looks like at a standard scale, preferably in a well-lit room and in motion. It reminds me (as its predecessor did a few years back) of the fuligin cloaks worn by torturers in the Book of the New Sun. One property of those was that due to the high absorption of light, they looked less like a thing of substance and more like a void or a deep shadow. I can imagine that you'd lose all shape information save for the outline of the material and whatever it is covering.

Previous material was 100% reflective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38010108)

So, it absorbs 99% and is the most absorbent material yet, 100 times more absorbant than the previous. Lets consider that;

The new material reflects 1% and the previous runner up, being 100 times more reflective, reflected 100%?

"is about 10,000 times thinner than a human hair" (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38010144)

Does this mean that it has a huge negative "thinness"? Sigh.

Donations (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 2 years ago | (#38010766)

If the American government is not going to fund NASA (properly), can they at least put up a paypal account/donation thingy or something?

>$US600Billion for military
$US20Billion for NASA

Sorry, but as a foreigner I'm happy to throw a couple of regular bucks for a good cause.

A perfect material for... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38010814)

... solar collectors. One could make a hell of a hot water heater from a base that absorbed 99% of the (visible part of the) spectrum. One could make a fairly impressive collector for the generation of electricity as well. Imagine a 1 km^2 south-facing hillside covered with flat black panels under a transparent insulated airtight roof, leading up to a hilltop tower filled with turbines (top of tower some km or so above the air intake at the base of the hill). 700 megawatts (or so) peak absorption, even allowing for inefficiencies should allow for 100-200 MW peak electrical production. Ten such hills/towers is a GW of production that works best at just the time of day that demand for electricity peaks in hot climates. And running the collector up a hillside is such an obvious improvement over e.g. the Australian model of a solar updraft tower poking straight up out of a plain covered with the collector. Why engineer a kilometer plus high tower straight up in the middle of a flat when nature provides you with all or most of that kilometer for free, at the top of a slope conveniently tipped to optimize the reception of solar flux? Not to mention the fact that many such hillsides are "wasted space" as far as utility is concerned, good for nothing but a view and located where nobody can even appreciate the view.

Sadly, all that they will do with this new material, I'm sure, is use it to build better stealth aircraft or the like. I'm surprised it isn't classified.

rgb

stealth (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38011152)

If this works right, it might absorb radar and other emissions. If so, then this would be a good coat for military aircraft.
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