Growth of long, strong carbon nanotube fibers
Since the discovery of carbon nanotubes in 1991, applications of carbon nanotube-based materials have been fantasized. Carbon nanotubes have 10-50 times the strength-to-weight ratio of steel, are very flexible, and have outstanding electrical properties over a wide temperature range. However, no one has yet devised a large-scale, cost-effective production method for carbon nanotube fibers perhaps until now. This research aims to produce continuous, long carbon nanotubes from catalyst bases in microfabricated reactors. A commercially viable technology would have a significant impact on the composite materials and plastics industries, which generate annual revenue of over $100 billion in the United States.