Home > Geek stuff > From Cars to Medicine, Nanotubes may be Miracle Material From Cars to Medicine, Nanotubes may be Miracle Material Eugenia Loli 2003-10-20 Geek stuff 18 Comments They are stronger than steel and as flexible as plastic, conduct energy better than almost any material ever discovered and can be made from unexotic raw materials such as methane gas. Read the story. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 18 Comments 2003-10-20 6:27 pm Anonymous WoW 2003-10-20 6:43 pm Anonymous Sigh, A whole article about nanotubes, and no mention of the most interesting potential use of all, space elevators. 2003-10-20 7:04 pm Anonymous …without the limitations imposed by nationality, greed, religion, politics, finance, etc. About the use of nanotubes in electronics: I somehow expect that such advances will just allow companies to make their existing designs a percentage faster rather than creating something entirely new. Another Pentium that’s 100% faster than today’s, or something like that… And yes, the space elevator was one of the things I expected to read about in this article, but.. nope. They did say that the material has the potential to be stronger than diamond, right? Still, they would need to manufacture MASSIVE amounts of material in order to create such a thing. It would be more expensive than any single endevour ever pursued by humanity. Once the processes of building things molecule by molecule and atom by atom are refined and made routine, there will be a huge jump in technological capabilities on this planet. I hope I live to see that time. 2003-10-20 7:12 pm Anonymous that is, what Human’s could accomplish if we all united to create a free and open society. I am pesemistic about our ability to do so in the near or mid length future. if we tried, we would end up under a horrable dictatorial opressive regime. and besides that, the only way to effectivly come together is to have a very federalistic system where the current country set up would be maintained, but borders would fall to open travel and citizenship would dissapear. we would also have to have a comprehensive and binding system of ways to deal with diffrences between the countries, and it would almost have to require that all member states be free true democratic states that meet certain requiremnets that would most certainly keep any notion of perpetual rule by an elite or family impossable. as we have it now, no one is prepaired to make such changes. 2003-10-20 7:56 pm Anonymous yay, now we can make stuff out of farts. 2003-10-20 8:32 pm Anonymous Think of the implications for developing nations. These tubes promise cheaper ways to set up all sorts of things including national infrastructure. Developing nations are going to be able to build themselves super reliable infrastructures that are cheaper to maintain. Imagine how much lower our taxes and higher our standard of living would be if… Roads had nano fibers mixed in, rendering potholes obsolete. Lighweight superstrong standardized components could be used to build bridges for trains as well as freeways. Maglev trains wouldn’t leak power, no liquid nitrogen needed to cool superconducting magnets. Cheap, super reliable cars and motorbikes. Huge skyscrapers much stronger and more heat resistant than steel would address the housing supply issues that currently plague big cities. Big fat datamining supercomputers to anonymously gather data to make government services more efficient. America is going to need to retool or China, etc. are going to make us obsolete. 2003-10-20 8:41 pm Anonymous Without the limitations imposed by schools, society and the media.. 2003-10-21 12:04 am Anonymous …without the limitations imposed by nationality, greed, religion, politics, finance, etc. Yeah, imagine how little… Like it or not these facets of humanity have driven a VAST amount of knowledge, technology, and growth over the time of man. Just imagine where we’d be today if We were simply “content”. Case in point, from the article: “…at Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc. (CNI), a Houston company founded by Rick Smalley, a 1996 Nobel Prize winner and Rice University professor. ” Now, what do you think motivated Prof. Smalley to create this company? Why didn’t he simply stay at Rice and apply for grants? I’ll bet the company even has patents on the technology! OH MY GOD! All of these are double edged swords. 2003-10-21 3:57 am Anonymous Greed and competition need not and are not always the prime movitation of change. I imagins that the day will come on our planet when compassion , lovingkindess and the desire to free one’s follow beings from suffering will become the prime motivators for real change. 2003-10-21 4:22 am Anonymous besides space elevators I always wondered what we might use to build the starships in 2401 that will need to be quite a bit stronger than than the fragile Shuttle materials (aluminum alloys etc). Guess now we know, but at $500/gram thats going to be one expensive ship, going to need a 64bit cpu to figure that one. In the more immediate future I expect to see only slower changes in electronics, the Si based tubes look more promising. I don’t buy into all the hype especially the self building stuff, but patterning is going to be with us along time and thats where all the fab costs are due to deep submicron features. nano will only make that problem worse. I am more keen to see changes in manufacturing of flat displays and smart materials than pure electronics. I was too young to ever work or use Vacuum tubes but probably too old to ever work on nanotubes…. 2003-10-21 11:39 am Anonymous People get disapointed by science and expect so much from scientists. I can’t help but feel that articles like this don’t help. I don’t think nanotubes will prove as easy to manipulate as suggested, although I have few doubts in their potential. Just don’t expect “polymers by the end of the year” as suggested. Most worrying however, is the speed which people want to adopt nanotubes into products when it is likely they are potentially very bad for us. The tubes are typically 50-100nm long and often become barbed during the immature manufacturing processes that currently exist. Even when not barbed they are more than light enough to float through the air seeing as they are many times lighter than typical house hold dust. They are alo extremely sharp. Can you imagine the sort of damage gradual but constant exposure could do? Who knows. Chances are they will fall to the ground and never move again close to where they become detached from a nanotube product. But still, it’s hard to believe that in the 21st century we still rush to produce products before we evaluate the consequences thoroughly enough. These kind of materials have as yet undergone very little scrutiny in the view of risk to health. This is not too surprising since corporations are usually more interested in getting the product to market and beating the competetion than doing a few years of health-risk research. However at least a university discovered nanotubes, how pants would it have been if nanotubes had been patented by some greedy megacorp? I may sound pessimistic but I’ve been excited by nanotubes since I first read about them in the year 2000, and am very glad all their unique and interesting properties have the potential of being used since their immaterial rights are not owned by some innovation-stiffling multinational. 2003-10-21 1:51 pm Anonymous I agree. But I dont think this place will become slashdot 2.0 because the articles posted here are generally informative, not some crap ‘anonotrol’ posted about SCO and how Microsoft own you. That and the fact that Eugenia does a pretty good job choosing news posts. Anyway my views of slashbot can be found here: http://www.unleadedonline.net/uo-97-123.html 2003-10-21 4:16 pm Anonymous Here’s a question that could tie the nano science to OS’s. If we did have the nearly unlimited power offered by these nano chips, what changes could be made to the Linux or other OS kernels to take advantage of it? In other words does the perfect OS need a massive amount of CPU power? 2003-10-21 5:23 pm Anonymous IF EVERYONE DIDNT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT STARVING. or have to worry about having no place to live, or worry about clean disease free drinking water. Nano tubes seem almost insignificant to real world problems. wow it gives quake3 1000 more fps. if it doesn’t make food/electricity/homes cheaper or easier to produce it’s not the “miracle” it’s marketer’s are claiming. we wouldn’t have nearly the wars we have now if these basic human needs were guaranteed for everyone. Yes it’s so far away it’s hard to comprehend 2003-10-21 6:00 pm Anonymous People get a life, please. And READ before you post that this story is off topic. It is more ontopic than anything else in fact. Besides, OSnews is NOT just about operating systems. How many times do I have to say that over here???? READ HERE before you open your mouth to spat out your desires: http://www.osnews.com/contact.php 2003-10-21 11:31 pm Anonymous those issues will never be resolved.Its a fact of life and the hiearchy of power will continue. on the + side, nanotubes seem awesome, great article. 2003-10-22 12:07 pm Anonymous IF EVERYONE DIDNT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT STARVING. or have to worry about having no place to live, or worry about clean disease free drinking water. That would be the definition of hell. – Overpopulation (Humans in plague proportions) – Loss of biodiversity (as humans++, animals– (humans == animals tho)). – Boring. 2003-10-22 1:49 pm Anonymous yeah, hell. tell that to a starving person with limited access to filthy water who sleeps outside. hell indeed.