Strongest Material Known


Scientists Manufacture Roswell-Like Material

I have attached a file where Peter Harris, one of leading researchers in the field, gives a short definition of nanotubes. You can find it at his website, more specifically at:

Roswell: metal that springs back to shape

Many witnesses of the Roswell incident spoke about a material resembling lead foil that wouldn't crease or dent, and that would return to its original shape.

Imagine my surprise when I read the following article from the July 1997 edition of AMBASSADOR magazine - I don't remember exactly, but I think it was a Northwest flight and hence the Northwest Airlines in-flight magazine.

"It's between 10 and 100 times stronger than steel with one-sixth the weight. It can crumple without breaking, then spring back to its original shape. Within a few years, it may be used to reinforce airplane wings and tether satellites to the Earth. No, it's not Superman's hair. It's the world's strongest fiber.

"The carbon nanotube is thinner than a pencil lead and made entirely of interlinked graphite atoms. 'This is the strongest material known,' reports Thomas Ebbesen, a professor of chemistry as Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France, and a pioneering expert on the filaments. Rice University physicist Peter Nordlander goes a step further, echoing the views of most researchers working on the tubes: 'This is quite probably the strongest material that can be made.'

"The reason: Carbon atoms attach to other bits of matter using a covalent electrical bond, the strongest form of bond between atoms. The larger the distance between atoms, the weaker the links binding them together. Carbon's electrical strength and small size enable it to form a denser, stronger mesh of atomic bonds than any other material.

"So far, researchers have been able to make tubes no longer than about 100 microns--a few hundredths of an inch....

"....Nobel chemist Richard Smalley of Rice University envisions a carbon filament one millimeter in diameter anchoring a satellite stationed more than 22,000 miles above the globe. The cord ... would weigh about 20 tons, he calculates, and could easily support its own weight.

"'Who knows what might be possible with nanotubes?' Ebbesen adds. 'They're the ultimate fiber."

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