Inventive materials: carbon nanotubes
Lightweight, strong and versatile, carbon nanotubes could revolutionise almost any material
The discovery of carbon nanotubes in 1991 opened up a new era in materials science. These incredible molecules have an array of fascinating electronic, magnetic and mechanical properties. They are at least 100 times stronger than steel, but only one-sixth as heavy – so nanotube ﬁbres could strengthen just about any material.
In addition, nanotubes can conduct heat and electricity far better than copper, and they are already being used in polymers to adjust conductivity and in antistatic packaging.Lead image:
EMSL/Flickr CC BY NC