Carbon Nanotube

Hollow carbon cylindrical tubes thinner than a strand of human hair that could be significantly stronger than steel. Great conductors of electricity and heat, nanotubes are compact, lightweight materials that have proven to provide a myriad of potential uses.
Technology Life Cycle

Technology Life Cycle


Marked by a rapid increase in technology adoption and market expansion. Innovations are refined, production costs decrease, and the technology gains widespread acceptance and use.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Prototype Testing

Prototype is fully functional and ready for testing in industrially relevant environment.

Technology Diffusion

Technology Diffusion

Early Adopters

Embrace new technologies soon after Innovators. They often have significant influence within their social circles and help validate the practicality of innovations.

Carbon Nanotube

Hollow cylindrical tubes similar to graphite found in pencils that, while thinner than a strand of human hair, could be significantly stronger than steel. The material has a great ability to conduct electricity and heat over a vast surface area, which can create new methods of improving lithium batteries. A hybrid combination of carbon and graphene nanotubes together would maximize the capacity of the available battery volume.

Carbon nanotubes have also been used as composite fibers in polymers to improve the mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of bulk products such as bicycle components, maritime vessels, and carbon nanoepoxy resins used for wind turbines, marine paints and sports gear like skis. By extracting the carbon nanotubes and hydrogen from waste plastics, these elements could be converted and incorporated into touchscreen devices (tablets and phones, for instance), high-strength materials like bulletproof vests and hydrogen fuel cells that would power cars and solar panels. They could also be used to manufacture brake discs, advanced aerospace composites, co-axial cables, conductive fuel lines, electromagnetic interference shielding in electronic devices, 3D memory chips, coatings, conductive tires, and inks.

Carbon nanotubes are also an innovative and powerful tool for water desalination. As they carry a negative charge, they repel negatively charged ions in salt when separating individual water molecules. This process efficiently repels salt and separates water molecules—the basis of desalination processes—and can be used to provide higher quality water for general purposes, and could also be applied in agriculture water irrigation pipes.

Future Perspectives

The industrial production of nanotubes can lead to a wider application due to the rapid growth in the market for nanoparticles in drugs, cosmetics, fabrics, water filters, and military weapons. With thousands of tons annually produced to fight waste production, carbon nanotubes are expected to be purified and applied in agriculture.

The separation of carbon nanotubes happens when they are filtered from other entities, such as carbon nanoparticles, amorphous carbon, residual catalysts, and other unwanted species. Experts have tested several techniques, from centrifugal separation to chemical separation to remove impurities. As a result, it would be beneficial for the early growth of wheatgrass in a hydroponic garden to test the potential of nanoparticles on the plant. The next step is to look at hydrophobic substrates that mimic the positive effects observed in nanotubes that could be used for high-efficiency channeling of water to seeds. Also, we may see other biomedical applications using these materials to produce hybrid biosensors, drug delivery systems, and high-performance composites for implants.

Image generated by Envisioning using Midjourney

What are carbon nanotubes (CNT) and how are they made? Synthesis, physical properties, and applications are reviewed.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have remarkable mechanical, thermal, electronic, and biological properties due to their particular atomic structure made of graphene sheets that are rolled into cylindrical tubes. Due to their outstanding properties, CNTs have been used in several technological fields
The Role of Carbon Nanotubes in Enhancement of Photocatalysis | InTechOpen, Published on: 2013-05-09. Authors: Tawfik A. Saleh
The increase in global production of nanomaterials has raised concern as to their possible effects on plants that could ultimately affect the human population.
Two groups of researchers have found ways to “unzip” carbon nanotubes to make nanoribbons of graphene, and experts say the development could point the way towards a new generation of electronics, including computer chips that are faster and tinier than the silicon-based chips used today.
A media article describing the scientific efforts of researchers at Northeastern University to apply carbon nanotubes to water desalination.
Purification of CNTs generally refers to the separation of CNTs from other entities, such as carbon nanoparticles, amorphous carbon, residual catalyst, and other unwanted species. The classic chemical techniques for purification have been tried, but they have not been found to be effective in removing the undesirable impurities. Three basic methods have been used with varying degrees of success, namely gas-phase, liquid-phase, and intercalation methods.
This article looks at the manufacturing process for carbon nanotubes and also considers their composition, classification and properties. Also discussed are commercial applications for nanotubes, market-place restrictions and the problems encountered when setting up the UK’s first production plant.
Rice University scientists have created a rechargeable lithium metal battery with three times the capacity of commercial lithium-ion batteries by resolving something that has long stumped researchers: the dendrite problem.
Researchers test the effects of carbon nanotubes on the growth of wheatgrass. While some showed no effect, purified single-walled nanotubes dispersed in water enhanced the plants' growth, while the same nanotubes in an organic solvent retarded their development.

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