from the now-lay-me-some-sugar dept.
Rei writes "Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have developed the highest quality nanotube sheets to date (the team previously set strength records with polymer-nanotube composites). Producable at a rate comparable to commercial wool spinning, the transparent cloth has exceedingly high conductivity, flexibility, has huge surface area to volume ratios, can potentially be made into very effective OLEDs and thin-film photovoltaic cells, and outperforms even our best bulk materials (such as Mylar and Kevlar) at strength normalized to weight. It strongly absorbs microwaves for localized heating (leading to applications in seamless microwave welding of sections and even windshield warming), changes conductivity little over a wide temperature range (very useful in sensors), and is expected to be used in commercial applications very soon. The research should even be expandable to artificial muscles! To head people off, while the exact tensile strength is not listed, it sounds like it is still far from the >100 GPa needed for a space elevator. Anyways, here's to process advancements!"
"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a
cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken