Application Prospect of Carbon Nanotubes

It's been nearly 30 years since the discovery of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are a kind of tubular carbon nanomaterials with graphite crystals. As a one-dimensional nanomaterial, they are light in weight, perfectly connected with hexagonal structure and have many abnormal mechanical, electrical and chemical properties. Therefore, carbon nanotubes have a very broad application prospect

Carbon nanotubes


1. Carbon nanotubes can be made into transparent and conductive films to replace ITO (indium tin oxide) as the material for touch screens. Previous techniques have used powdered carbon nanotubes as a solution to be coated directly onto PET or glass substrates. At present, super carbon nanotube technology can be successfully mass produced. The technology pulls the film out directly from a super-straight carbon nanotube array and lays it on a substrate to make a transparent conductive film, much like pulling yarn out of a tampon.


2.Carbon nanotube touch screens were first developed between 2007 and 2008. So far, many smart phones have used touch screens made of carbon nanotube materials. Different from the existing indium tin oxide (ITO) touch screen, indium tin oxide contains rare metal "indium". The raw materials of carbon nanotubes touch screen are methane, ethylene, acetylene and other hydrocarbon gases, which are not limited by rare mineral resources. Secondly, the carbon nanotube film made by the film laying method has conductive anisotropy, just like the natural built-in figure, which does not need lithography, etching and washing process, saves a lot of water and electricity, and is more environmentally friendly and energy-saving. Moreover, the engineers have developed a localization technology that utilizes the conductive anisotropy of carbon nanotubes to determine the X and Y coordinates of touch points with only one layer of carbon nanotubes thin film. The touch screen of carbon nanotubes is also flexible, anti-interference, waterproof, anti-knock and scratch-resistant, and can be made into curved touch screen, which has a high potential to be used in wearable devices, smart furniture and other products.


3. Engineers at Stanford university have reportedly made a breakthrough in a new generation of electronic devices by building the first prototype computer using carbon nanotubes, which are smaller, faster and more energy efficient than computers based on silicon chip patterns. Professor giovanni DE micelli, director of the school of electrical engineering at the ecole polytechnique federale DE lausanne, Switzerland, highlighted two key technical contributions to this worldwide achievement: first, putting in place a manufacturing process based on carbon nanotube circuits; Secondly, a simple and effective circuit is established, which shows that the calculation using carbon nanotubes is feasible.


4.Hydrogen is seen by many as the clean energy of the future. But hydrogen itself has a low density and is hard to store when compressed into a liquid. Carbon nanotubes are lightweight and have hollow structures that make them excellent containers for storing hydrogen even denser than liquid or solid hydrogen. When heated properly, the hydrogen can be released slowly. Researchers are trying to use carbon nanotubes as lightweight, portable hydrogen storage containers. the interior of the carbon nanotubes can be filling materials such as metal, oxide, carbon nanotubes can be used as a mold, so first of all, using metal materials such as the filling of carbon nanotubes, and then dropped the carbon layer corrosion, can be prepared the finest of nanoscale wires, or entirely new one-dimensional materials, molecular electronics in the future or applied in nanoscale electronics. Some carbon nanotubes can also act as nanoscale wires themselves. Tiny wires made from carbon nanotubes or related technology can then be placed on silicon chips to produce more complex circuits.


6.Many excellent composite materials can be made by utilizing the properties of carbon nanotubes. For example, plastic reinforced with carbon nanotubes has excellent mechanical properties, good electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance and shielding of radio waves. The carbon nanotube composites made of cement have good impact resistance, anti-static, abrasion resistance and high stability, and are not easy to affect the environment. Carbon nanotubes reinforced ceramic composites have high strength and good impact resistance. Due to the defect of five-membered ring on the carbon nanotubes, the reactivity is enhanced. In the condition of high temperature and other substances, the carbon nanotubes are easy to open at the end face to form a pipe, which is easy to be infiltrated by metal and form metal matrix composites with metal. Such materials have high strength, high modulus, high temperature resistance, small coefficient of thermal expansion and strong resistance to thermal change. Carbon nanotubes also provide physicists with the finest capillaries for studying capillarity and chemists with the finest tubes for conducting nano chemical reactions.

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