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Carbon nanotubes run into magical polymer, become 'tougher than Kevlar'

Darren Murph

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Much like graphene, carbon nanotubes seem to be hitting on all cylinders in the lab. Of course, we can count on one hand finger how many instances we've seen them making a difference in "the real world," but we aren't giving up hope just yet. Researchers from a cadre of universities have come together to solve one of the most nagging issues when dealing with carbon nanotubes -- in prior studies, the bundling of these tubes resulted in a marked decrease in strength, which in turn led to a profuse outpouring of tears. But thanks to a new approach, which mixes in a nondescript polymer, they've managed to conjure up a "a high performance fiber that is remarkably tough, strong, and resistant to failure." More specifically, the resulting material is said to be "tougher than Kevlar, meaning it has a higher ability to absorb energy without breaking." Notably, this material isn't stronger than Kevlar, as it's resistance to failure isn't quite up to snuff, but you can bet the gurus working on this won't stop until it is. And then, friends, we will have officially arrived in The Future.

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