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Biotech Science

World's Largest Nanotube Model 147

darthpenguin writes "A group at Rice University has completed building the world's largest Nanotube model. Rice University is a leader in this revolutionary field involving nanotubes and buckyballs, which have the potential to revolutionize certain areas of science. The completed model, a full 360 meters in length, has been accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records."
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World's Largest Nanotube Model

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:37PM (#12326486)

    A group at Rice University has completed building the world's largest Nanotube model.

    Someone ought to call the kids over at Rice University and let them know they're working in the wrong direction....the whole point of nanotubes is that they're supposed to be small.

    Seriously, though, shouldn't these kids be working on something other than trying to get into the Book of Records? Like, perhaps, doing work with actual nanotubes?

    The completed model, a full 360 meters in length, has been accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records.

    Wow...what's the category? World's Biggest Waste of Time ?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:39PM (#12326505)
      Wow...what's the category? World's Biggest Waste of Time ?
      I think that pretty well describes everything in the Guinness Book of World Records.
      • Wow...what's the category? World's Biggest Waste of Time ?

        I think that pretty well describes everything in the Guinness Book of World Records.

        Except the guy who ate the bicycle. I mean, come on, that could solve the problem with our landfills.

        Too bad they don't cover eating records any more. Of course, from what I've seen, the Guiness books only have about a tenth of the content they had in their heydays in the 70's.

      • As both the art director, and production artist, of a recent project, I refute the "waste of time" opinion. Last year, my agency produced for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation a promotion called the Big Scratch. It consisted, in the end, of the production of the World's Largest Scratch Ticket (16'x25'). This has both been the most successful (read $$$$$) promotion in Atlantic Lottery history, but also certified by the Guinness Book.

        If making lots o' cash while gaining a world record is a waste of time, I'd
    • Community building (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's just about pulling together as chemistry geeks. Most of the world's monuments were largely about this. Partially the local religion, but mostly "look at this fucking thing we built."

      That's a valuable thing in and of itself. The actual thing doesn't have to then be useful.

      You could suggest they do a charity instead, but that wouldn't necessarily pull them together. You can't just force people to enjoy the same charity.

      You might want to look at what human beings are like sometime.
    • Modern Academia (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Is not about doing anything useful or revolutionary, its about getting your name and your institution's name printed in whatever publications you can.

      Rice is a relatively small university in the middle of South Texas. I guess instead of doing something relevant in science, they decided to do something for play and get it in Guiness and call it scientific research.
    • by Council ( 514577 ) <rmunroe@gma i l . c om> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:53PM (#12326585) Homepage
      Like posting on /.?

      No, wait, before you mod me down -- this is a fallacy I see a lot that bothers me and will probably come out a lot in these comments. When someone does something big and pointless and it's closely related to something good for the world, people say "what a waste of time!" but when they do something big and pointless and geeky that doesn't remind you about the world's problems, people say "cool!" Millions of people are wasting time constantly, including people with the potential to change the world tremendously.

      Put another way, researchers don't have to devote every minute of their lives to doing research. Especially not when we're wasting our lives posting about them on /.

      Though the GWR is silly.
      • What really astounds me is that people are ignorant enough to think that nothing "meaningful" can come of fanciful things like this. I recommend that these people watch the BBC Connections series sometime and realize that innovation sparks from a series of seemingly random occurences. The Trigger Effect as Burke called it. Who knows that this model might inspire somebody to create, and who knows what effects the construction of this may hold in the distant future.

    • Think carbon fibre, materials made out of carbon nanotube mesh would be the strongest in existence...
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Think carbon fibre, materials made out of carbon nanotube mesh would be the strongest in existence..."

        One could make some serious bras out of that.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What a bunch of FSCKING trolls the first few posters are. They sound like a bunch of idiot business majors or something. What a bunch of clueless unimaginative wastes of skin. Here's a clue stupid set of tools: you can use this long string to build a car 50 times as strong as steel, but weighing 50 times as less. If you built an aircraft out of it, it could fly 500 times as far on 1/10 the fuel. You could build buildings 500 stories tall. You could make products that last practically forever. And all
    • Hey! I just invented the World's best solar powered torchlight!
    • by RFINN ( 18178 )
      Dude - you're an idiot.

      Structures like this tube are what will be needed for applications such as a space elevator cable and fuel tanks that can hold hydrogen (the hydrogen binds to nanotubes and can be packed more densly than in an empty vacuum).

      And it's not the "kids" working on these kinds of projects - the goals are set by people like Rick Smalley, who invented and named the Bucky Ball.

      The cost of making nanotubes needs to come down before it can be used commerically however - and lo and behold it co
    • Maybe I'm missing it, but why aren't there any photos?
  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I bet my giant miniature poodle would love to play on this thing. I hope it isn't so big that really big small aircraft might hit the side of it.
    • Re:Great! (Score:3, Funny)

      by qewl ( 671495 )
      Whoa, whoa, whoa! You have a giant miniature poodle?? So do you get like the advantages of a big dog, like watchdog ability and not accidentally stepping on it, and the advantages of a small dog, like not eating as much and pooping less? Or is it just really small, and eats and shits extra all over the place?
  • Oxymoron (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Palal ( 836081 )
    Isn't this an oxymoron? Enough for the first post
  • On a fiber by fiber basis, nanotubes are very fragile. However, in large bunches they are stronger than any other material currently available.

    I'd love to see how they manage to mass produce these things. Such a production ability brings the vaunted "space elevator" closer to reality.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:40PM (#12326510)
    ... World's tallest Midget.
  • by mazarin5 ( 309432 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:40PM (#12326514) Journal
    Rice University is a leader in this revolutionary field involving nanotubes

    The revolutionary field of making gigantic models? :)

  • Guinness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:40PM (#12326515)
    Any remember when a GWR actually MEANT something? Now seems like they'll give a record to any borderline unique PR stunt...
    • Yeah, you were six (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They never meant anything. You were just young. There are comics going back to the 60s about people making the world's largest noodle stack to get in the book. It's always been ridiculous.

      • The great thing about the GWR is you can always make a new record...

        Someone beaten you to the record for wearing the most silly hats at once? Set a record for wearing the most silly hats at once... while bouncing on a pogo stick. Backwards, if need be. And while juggling. With eggs.
        And so on.
    • Re:Guinness (Score:4, Funny)

      by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @02:44AM (#12327396) Homepage
      +1, World's Most Insightful Comment Regarding Both The Guinness Book Of World Records And Public Relations In A Negative Fashion
    • Re:Guinness (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It never really MEANT anything. It's just a book of trivia originally put together to solve heated disputes over trivia in pubs. It's rumored as an advertising gimmick for a quite famous Irish stout []
  • by tquinlan ( 868483 ) <tom@th o m a s q> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:42PM (#12326527) Homepage
    If they can just build more of these things, and stack them on top of each other, they'll have made a space elevator, one that will be that much strong than one made of real nano-parcticles!

  • eww (Score:1, Funny)

    by fallendove ( 875598 )
    Tell these science nerds they can keep their nanotubes and buckyballs to themselves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:49PM (#12326566)

    nanotubes and buckyballs

    I bet their wives tease them all the time.

  • by Anti_Climax ( 447121 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @10:50PM (#12326572)
    Apparently they've posted an ASCII photo of the model to save bandwidth. I think I managed to get it before they site went down. It looks like this
    Fatal error: out of dynamic memory in yy_create_buffer() in Unknown on line 0
    I can't really tell how true to life it is though.
  • Ok, sure, but what about the worlds smallest nanotube model?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:02PM (#12326629) 359.99999999 meters.
  • by orkysoft ( 93727 ) <orkysoft&myrealbox,com> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:08PM (#12326650) Journal
    To keep it from being boring, they put a tiny spaceship inside!
  • Poor Guy... (Score:4, Funny)

    by templest ( 705025 ) < minus punct> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:09PM (#12326655) Homepage Journal
    buckyballs, ...a full 360 meters in length, has been accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records.
    I feel sorry for the dude. I mean, what can he do but wrap them around his waist...
    Oh, I thought... you know what, nevermind.
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:12PM (#12326669) Homepage
    Wow, if just the model is 360m long, imagine how big an ACTUAL nanotube must be!
  • by pmadden ( 209229 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:13PM (#12326678) Homepage Journal
    Give them a break... the model is a PR stunt, but the whole nanotube/buckyball thing started at Rice. The feds have started pouring money into nanotech research; if Rice wants to get their fair share of the loot, they need to make sure no one forgets where the nanotube came from. Seems like a lot of /.ers don't know, which is kind of scary.

    Most schools use their sports programs to get positive PR. Rice is doing their PR off of some very solid and useful research that happened on campus. Got a problem with that?

    • Thank God professors get pulled into the trap that is Slashdot too!

      I'm actually planning on changing my homepage to something other than Slashdot sometime soon (probably Google).

      Getting drawn into flamewars on Slashdot is rarely productive. The articles are interesting (sometimes), but you really can't count on informed commentary anymore.

      I'd just let it roll off your back.
    • but the whole nanotube/buckyball thing started at Rice

      As long as it's not transgenic - oh wait...
  • Image (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The site's fried, but Rice University has an image of it (along with some guy's head) on their front page. []
  • ok... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BoomTechnology ( 832547 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @11:58PM (#12326810) Homepage
    ok. In all honesty -- it really wasn't that big of a
    waste of time. We (the students -- undergrad
    students who don't have the knowledge of doing
    this sort of research) were asked by the coordinators to sign up to build the tube.
    Mind you, we did this on a Friday when most of us don't
    work hard anyways (especially those silly Academs []).
    OK. Admittedly, I did not partake in these festivities as I was busy with other more important things,
    but for the people who had the time to do it, I'm sure
    it was a bonding experience and I'm sure they had a blast. Plus they got free t-shirts...yum.
    • Re:ok... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Slashdot could have a story about a 13 year old who single handedly designed and built a working Stargate and you would still get comments like, "so what, I was thinking of doing this," and the ever popular "what a waste of time, they could have been working on a cure for cancer!" So no matter what you do, if you post it on Slashdot you will be belittled by geeks with a superiority complex.
    • > but for the people who had the time to do it, I'm sure it was a bonding experience

      Considering what they we're doing, I'm pretty certain that they we're getting at least some bonding experience.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Rice University? Don't they have better things to do, like put a coffee can exhaust and a spoiler on a Honda civic?
  • Everytime I hear "nano", I think of how far ahead of its time "Mork and Myndy" was.
  • What's biotech got to do with this? Nanotubes are ANYTHING but organic. (OK they got carbon yeah, but you get the point).

    Shouldn't /. add a "nanotech" topic, for once? And use a nanotube picture as the icon. There we could deal with nanotubes, nanotransistors, quantum dots, yadda yadda yadda.
  • A group at Rice University has completed building the world's largest Nanotube model.
    Errr... that's great. No, I mean, really--most excellent! Smashing, one might even say.

    Though... I can't help... but wonder... wasn't the competition-at-large about building the smallest of something?

    ... but hey, never mind, as I said, terrific work, chaps! Capital, I say, capital! Most... errr... grand!!
  • by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @02:11AM (#12327281)
    That's pretty cool. I always wanted to build a nanotube (megatube?) with those silly ball and stick molecule kits you play with in intro chemistry, but they never come with more than 15 carbons. One time a bunch of my friends and I pooled together a couple kits and made a bucky-tube, but the teacher wasn't that impressed. He already knew we were nerds and was just worried about us getting the right number of carbons in each kit when we took it apart.
  • ... it doesn't look anything like Heidi Klum...
  • "You know, it's things like this that make me want to move to Canada."

    "Oh, they've got one too, but half of theirs is French!"

    - Sam & Max

  • So the thing is 360m long? So it's basically, what, 90 4m nanotube models stuck together?

    Isn't the construction of a nanotube repeating? Why stop at 360m? Couldn't they just add sticks to the end? Did they run out?

    I'm sure it's not quite as simple as just adding more carbons, but I'm sure it's not incredibly difficult (in a modeling sense, that is).

  • Doesn't that just make it... a Tube?
  • gigananotube?
  • Buckyball model?

    I've just built the worlds largest model of the earth...

    We're all standing on it... :)
  • "Yes, it's a perfect scale model of the universe's largest bottle. I put a tiny spaceship inside to keep it from being boring."
    PhD. Hubert J Farnsworth
  • ... and that space elevator will become reality.
  • She weighs 845 lbs and still looks anorexic.

    But, uh, my blog has no pictures, so you'll just have to take The Onion's word for it...
  • I'm serious. Is it made of lego or something? I mean, given what the PDF says - and as a physicist can I just say how goddam fucking sexy these nanotubes sound in a practical sense - I just can't understand why you would WANT to make this model.

    Can anyone shed any light on it? What does it show us, because from the description we have a long tube made up of repeating C-60 type patterns of molecules?

    While I understand the concept of making it so big because they can, they must surely have started from
    • The properties of a carbon nanotube change depending on the length - mostly like a length of spaghetti, it becomes more likely to snap the longer it is. It also gets "stickier" - each ring of six carbons is like a benzene ring which has a cloud of electrons either side of it, so things like ions and polar molecules hug the negative charge. The longer the tube, the more benzene-like rings, the more negative charge, the "stickier" it is. There's also a lot of research where they attach hydroxyl groups or vari
      • Well cheers. I guess my point is, how on earth would something on a large scale be able to mimic something on such a small scale? That's the thing - why make huge models?

Disks travel in packs.