SuperThread – Strongest Carbon Nanotube Ever

Yuntian Zhu, a Los Alamos scientist, has recently developed carbon-nanotube fibers (CNT) that may prove to be some of the strongest materials on Earth. These CNTs are 100 times stronger than steel (pound for pound for the same weight), tougher than diamonds, and roughly one-ten-thousandth of a human hair in diameter.




Yuntian Theodore Zhu and Dean Peterson of Los Alamos' Superconductivity Technology Center (MST-STC) listen to comments at last Friday's cooperative research and development agreement signing in the MSL Auditorium (Credit: Lanl/LeRoy N. Sanchez) 
Yuntian Theodore Zhu and Dean Peterson
of Los Alamos’ Superconductivity
Technology Center (MST-STC) listen to
comments at cooperative research and
development agreement
signing (Credit: Lanl/LeRoy N. Sanchez)

Initial tests show that this ultra strong carbon-nanotube fiber, branded “SuperThread”, can be more useful than steel in many applications such as building the best airplanes, automobile parts, bulletproof vests, limbs, and even sports equipment. 

Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical carbon molecules designed with a geodesic dome. Currently, scientists are working on arrays of ultra-long, super-strong, lightweight, double-walled carbon nanotubes. These arrays allow the nanotubes to be spun into the ultra strong fibers. In the near future CNT Tech will begin spinning the ultra strong carbon-nanotube fiber on a custom-designed, computer-controlled spinning machine similar to those used in textile manufacturing. 

Over the next two years CNT Tech intends to replace carbon fibers with SuperThread, which will be specially designed for commercial use in aircraft materials, sport and recreation products, defense applications, and many other fields where a strong and light material is required. 

TFOT recently covered several related topics including carbon nanotubes for chemical detection, making nanotubes into electrical circuits, and the physics of carbon nanotubes

More information on the new ultra strong carbon nanotubes can be found on the Los Alamos Laboratories website.