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Thread: Colossal carbon tubes. Stronger per weight than carbon nanotubes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Colossal carbon tubes. Stronger per weight than carbon nanotubes?

    I somehow missed this back in 2008 or perhaps I saw they were not as
    strong as carbon nanotubes in tensile strength so I didn't pay much
    attention to them, but a team in 2008 announced development of what
    they refer to as "colossal carbon tubes" which they say are stronger
    than carbon nanotubes on a per weight basis:

    Aug 8, 2008
    Carbon nanotubes, but without the 'nano'.

    Specific strength.

    Peng, H.; Chen, D.; et al., Huang J.Y. et al. (2008). "Strong and
    Ductile Colossal Carbon Tubes with Walls of Rectangular Macropores".
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 101 (14): 145501. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.101.145501 [full

    The reason the team says the colossal carbon tubes have higher
    specific strength than carbon nanotubes is because while their tensile
    strength is 7 GPa, only slightly better than carbon composites long in
    common use, their density is only 0.116 g/cm³(!)
    These tubes so far are only centimeter lengths but another quite
    useful aspect of them is their large diameters compared to nanotubes,
    in the range of 50 to 100 microns. This is about the thickness of a
    human hair. This would make them much easier to work with as far as
    combining them together to create longer lengths.
    If it is possible to join them and retain their individual strength
    or make them at arbitrarily long lengths and retain the same strength
    then they would be well in the range to make the space elevator

    Bob Clark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Sounds interesting. Of course, there are still a lot of practical issues that might prevent this technology from being practical for something like a space elevator. Can they make the strands long enough? How well do the materials hold up under exposure to the environment (both atmospheric and in space). How well do the materials hold up to the wear & tear of elevator operations? It's probably too soon to answer any of these questions, I'm just pointing out that not all potentially promising technologies end up being practical.

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