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Researchers used carbon nanotubes for breakthrough

The storage and generation of electricity is a hotbed of scientific study around the world. New and improved methods of storing electricity have a myriad of potential uses from phones and laptops that run longer to new electric vehicles with much greater driving range.

At the center of much of the research in the storage and generation of power in batteries and other devices are carbon nanotubes. The carbon nanotube has been studied for decades and new advances over the last few years have made the nanotubes easier to produce and have offered breakthroughs in the use of carbon nanotubes. Scientists at Rice University made a breakthrough in carbon nanotube processing in November of 2009 that uses processes similar to those that have been employed in the plastics industry to make the production of carbon nanotubes in bulk much easier.

Researchers in late 2009 also found that defective carbon nanotubes are more efficient at storing energy than carbon nanotubes that are uniform in size. In February 2010, Bayer announced that it was opening the world's largest carbon nanotube production facility to develop carbon nanotubes dubbed "Baytubes" using multi-wall carbon nanotube technology. The facility is expected to produce about 200 metric tons of nanotubes each year.

Now, a team of researchers at MIT have announced that they have made a new breakthrough for producing electricity with carbon nanotubes. The discovery may one day lead to a myriad of new devices such as sensors the size of dust that can be dispersed in air to monitor the environment or the tech might lead to implantable devices that produce their own power. The researchers discovered a phenomenon that was previously unknown that produces powerful waved of energy that shoots though carbon nanotubes, producing electricity.

The team of researchers called the phenomenon "thermopower waves." MIT's Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Professor of Chemical Engineering, and senior author of the paper reporting the findings said, "[Thermopower waves] opens up a new area of energy research, which is rare."

The thermal wave is a moving pulse of heat that travels along the microscopic carbon nanotubes and drives electrons along with it creating an electrical current. The team coated carbon nanotubes with a highly reactive fuel that produces heat as it decomposes. The fuel was ignited at one end of the nanotube with a laser beam or high-voltage spark.

The resulting ignition created a fast moving thermal wave that travels about 10,000 times faster than the normal speed of the reaction according to the team. The temperature of the ring of heat reaches about 3,000 kelvins, pushing electrons along the tube creating a substantial electrical current. Strano says that the combustion waves have been mathematically studied for more than a hundred years, but he claims to be the first to predict that the combustion waves could be guided by a nanotube or nanowire and push an electrical current along the wire.

Strano says, "[In early experiments] lo and behold, we were really surprised by the size of the resulting voltage peak." He continued saying, "There's something else happening here. We call it electron entrainment since part of the current appears to scale with wave velocity.

Strano says that since the discovery is so new it is hard to predict how it could be used in practical application. The team plans to conduct more research using different kinds of reactive materials for the fuel coating and the team suspects that by using other materials for the coating the front of the wave could oscillate to produce an alternating current. The team points out that most of the power generated with the new method is given off as light and heat and work is ongoing to make the process more efficient.



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toner
By chromal on 3/8/2010 12:32:39 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The discovery may one day lead to a myriad of new devices such as sensors the size of dust that can be dispersed in air to monitor the environment

Yeah, that's just what I need to inhale: nano-toner. Because there aren't enough things to give me cancer out there already.




RE: toner
By porkpie on 3/8/10, Rating: -1
RE: toner
By estaffer on 3/8/10, Rating: 0
RE: toner
By HandOfDeath on 3/8/10, Rating: 0
RE: toner
By ZaethDekar on 3/8/2010 1:11:28 PM , Rating: 3
I agree and have something to add.

Can I get a job lighting stuff on fire with different chemicals to just see what happens?


RE: toner
By hsauqs on 3/8/2010 1:50:04 PM , Rating: 1
that's like saying i'm a hypocrite for cooking steaks on my barbecue when i realize that fire can burn my house down. zero sense.


RE: toner
By whiskerwill on 3/8/2010 2:50:12 PM , Rating: 4
No, its more like saying fire is the "worst idea ever" just because you realize it could burn down your house.


RE: toner
By PAPutzback on 3/8/2010 1:53:35 PM , Rating: 4
I can't believe the inital post was down rated. With everything we know about air conditions, allergies, the respiratory system that someone would think this might be a good idea outside of a laboratory.

Someone a long time ago thought asbestos was a good idea.

If it can be cleaned up 100 percent then use it, otherwise we really don't need another alergen floating around.


RE: toner
By SPOOFE on 3/8/2010 2:06:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Someone a long time ago thought asbestos was a good idea.

Depends on what you're doing. If you're on fire, you'd give your left nut for asbestos.


RE: toner
By invidious on 3/8/2010 4:56:14 PM , Rating: 4
Actually I would take some water.


RE: toner
By porkpie on 3/8/2010 2:45:57 PM , Rating: 1
Asbestos was (and still is) a good idea. It's still the best fire resistant material we have.

Personally, I'd rather be in a tall building protected with properly contained asbestos than I would in one with any of the inferior alternatives. Had the WTC been fireproofed with asbestos all the way up, it most likely would have survived the 9/11 attacks....it certainly would have lasted hours longer, time enough to evacuate thousands more people.

The risks from asbestos fibers are incredibly small. There are counties in California that have asbestos fiber counts in the air and water dozens of times above EPA "safe" levels, due to the natural asbestos found in the area. And even unprotected asbestos miners -- who breathe in fiber levels many millions of times higher than your average person -- live many decades before developing problems.

In other words, the benefits for the safe and proper use of asbestos far outweigh the risks. Just like nanotechnology. But asking an environmentalist to put logic ahead of emotion is like asking a pig to give up the slop trough.


RE: toner
By samoya22 on 3/8/10, Rating: -1
RE: toner
By porkpie on 3/8/10, Rating: -1
RE: toner
By tygrus on 3/8/2010 7:47:00 PM , Rating: 3
I thought the explosion from the impact to the WTC towers blew off any fire protection above the floors. Even without asbestos above level # the designers didn't plan for a plane of that size and fuel to crash into it. They designed for older/smaller aircraft impact and standard office fires.
It's impossible to be protected from every attack that may happen in the next 50 years. They will always find a way, eventually.


RE: toner
By porkpie on 3/8/2010 8:48:05 PM , Rating: 3
Incorrect. The original engineers designed the building to withstand an impact from a fully loaded Boeing 707 airliner without collapse:

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/design.ht...

And while a 767 is very slightly larger, it cruises at a slower speed and would have had less kinetic energy (and jet fuel aboard) than the original design estimates.


RE: toner
By NicodemusMM on 3/8/2010 6:08:42 PM , Rating: 3
A good example of emotion over logic would be deriding someone for simply referencing 9/11 in order to make a perfectly valid point. Should the loss of life make it so touchy a subject that we can't even learn from it??

"Those who cannot learn from history (even recent history), are doomed to repeat it."


RE: toner
By darkweasel on 3/8/2010 5:03:47 PM , Rating: 1
That it takes years for the cancer to kill them is not a plus.


RE: toner
By porkpie on 3/8/10, Rating: 0
RE: toner
By croc on 3/8/2010 6:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
Work in the asbestos mining / production facilities much, do we?


RE: toner
By porkpie on 3/8/2010 7:32:54 PM , Rating: 1
And we thank you for an excellent example of the association fallacy.

In the last month alone, I've been accused of working for the asbestos, nuclear, banking, and oil industries...as well as being a shill for Microsoft and even Apple. I suppose I should take it as a compliment.

Why not learn to think rationally, instead of making these ridiculous emotional appeals? Life's a lot more interesting when you actually use your brain.


RE: toner
By Gzus666 on 3/8/2010 8:34:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
In the last month alone, I've been accused of working for the asbestos, nuclear, banking, and oil industries...as well as being a shill for Microsoft and even Apple.


I honestly thought you worked for DailyTech as you post all day, pretty much every day.


RE: toner
By ekv on 3/9/2010 4:12:31 AM , Rating: 2
Dude is bad-a** 8)

I had wondered about the number of posts too. Either a fair amount of time available, or just damn smart [to think logically and communicate at that level, that fast].

As far as working for DailyTech ... you imply they are smart enough to recognize such talent. It'd just make too much sense to hire him, even as a consultant, no?

I know I'm spending more time here lately....


RE: toner
By AmbroseAthan on 3/9/2010 9:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
They actually did ask him a few days ago as a reply to one of his comments. J. Mick asked if he would be interested in writing a blog for the site once in a while.

Porkpie thought he might still be a bit too hot-headed for such.


RE: toner
By Gzus666 on 3/9/2010 7:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I had wondered about the number of posts too. Either a fair amount of time available, or just damn smart [to think logically and communicate at that level, that fast].


Using basic logic and communicating it quickly is not that complicated for someone who puts in some effort to learn the basics of logic. Once the basics of logic are understood, arguments can easily be made from there and done well. An example is my brother spent quite a bit of time in debate classes. As such, he can argue with just about anyone extremely effectively and following the proper rules of logic. Couple this basic understanding with an above average intellect and access to the Internet and you get that. There are plenty of people who are able to do similar things while online. They are not gods or anything of that nature, merely intelligent people with access to instant information. Chances are his job sucks (I was in that situation years ago) and therefore the free time during the day skyrockets because an idle mind tends to wander (especially for the more intelligent).

This of course is not to take away from his abilities, he is quite well versed in logic, my post was merely a ribbing.


RE: toner
By ekv on 3/10/2010 2:41:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
my post was merely a ribbing
Woops. Didn't catch that. Thanks.


RE: toner
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/9/2010 7:22:04 AM , Rating: 2
It wasn't the inferior properties of the fire retardent material that downed the towers, it was that the fire retardent materials were blown off by the explosion of the aircraft and jet fuel. No material could have remained adhered under those conditions.


RE: toner
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/9/2010 7:19:21 AM , Rating: 2
Whoa, try decaffeinated. Why don't you go live at Love Canal with all your technology?


RE: toner
By shin0bi272 on 3/8/2010 1:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
dont worry the nanobots in your bloodstream will fight them off ;)


RE: toner
By MrPeabody on 3/8/2010 1:33:34 PM , Rating: 5
Tim: We've saturated the area with our enviro-sensor dust, sir.
Mordecai: Good. What are the sensors telling us?
Tim: Initial readings indicate that the area is really, really dusty, sir.
Mordecai: Excellent.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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