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NASA Space Science

NASA Wins Nanotechnology Award 36

Roland Piquepaille writes "NASA is rarely associated with nanotechnologies. But one of its researchers working at the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center just received a Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 award for a manufacturing process for high-quality carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Because of its ability to produce bundles of CNTs without using a metal catalyst, this method is simpler, safer, and cheaper than current ones. The CNTs produced by this process are also purer and well suited for medical applications."
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NASA Wins Nanotechnology Award

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  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @12:11PM (#21390283) Homepage Journal
    You need a really small display cabinet to show off your nano technology awards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2007 @12:19PM (#21390333)
    NASA is usually pronounced nassa, not en-ey-ess-ey
    SCSI is usually pronounced scuzzy, not ess-see-ess-ai

    So how is CNT pronounced in mixed company?
    I'm actually serious.
    • Almost like TNT of course.. there are 4 letter acronyms and 3 letter acronyms, a big difference! ;P
    • by dbrower ( 114953 )
      Three letter acronyms tend to be spoken as letters, and four letter ones leap towards pronuciation.

      NBA, NFL, CBS, ABC, NBC, FBI, CIA, ..., CNT

      No, you're not serious, are you.


      • Of course, this story comes courtesy of Roland "Copper Nanotube" Piquepaille.

      • Three letter acronyms tend to be spoken as letters, and four letter ones leap towards pronuciation.

        NBA, NFL, CBS, ABC, NBC, FBI, CIA, ..., CNT

        If the letters are pronounced separately, it's not an acronym.

    • So how is CNT pronounced in mixed company? I'm actually serious.
      I would suggest... can't.
    • *chuckle*

      May I buy a vowel?
    • On that topic, how do we pronounce copper nanotubes, i.e. CuNT?
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @01:04PM (#21390617) Journal
    YAY NASA! Go inanimate carbon rod!
  • Sorry for the the silly subject line but I've got a question. How hot can a carbon nanotube be while still keeping it's structural strength? And how strong is that tube in normal conditions? I keep thinking about fishing rods, lasers and star wars whenever I read about carbon nanotubes, so if anyone has any information to stop my daydreams, please share.
  • I remember back in 2005 when I had just started up a consulting firm with several of my buddies. To make ends meet, we did some contracting from online sources. One of the contracts we won was to produce a marketing plan for a small hospital up in the North East. They had some money and they were looking at starting up some sort of carbon nanotube startup. While researching, we came across Dr. Benavides's discovery. I read the paper she published. It was pretty neat. The technique is relatively simple. You
  • I'm surprised that noone's brought this up. From TFA:

    Given their level of purity, the high-quality SWCNTs made using Benavides's discovery are particularly well suited for medical applications, where metal particles cannot be present, as well as applications where high strength and electrical conductivity are desired, since high purity enhances these characteristics. Yet, they can be used in other applications as well.

    Plus they seem to be less expensive, more safe, and easier to produce this way.


  • I for one welcome our inanimate carbon overlords.
  • The actual patent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ceriel Nosforit ( 682174 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @09:00AM (#21397003)
    Patent found here []

    "A non-catalytic process for the production of carbon nanotubes includes supplying an electric current to a carbon anode and a carbon cathode which have been securely positioned in the open atmosphere with a gap between them. The electric current creates an electric arc between the carbon anode and the carbon cathode, which causes carbon to be vaporized from the carbon anode and a carbonaceous residue to be deposited on the carbon cathode. Inert gas [*] is pumped into the gap to flush out oxygen, thereby preventing interference with the vaporization of carbon from the anode and preventing oxidation of the carbonaceous residue being deposited on the cathode. The anode and cathode are cooled while electric current is being supplied thereto. When the supply of electric current is terminated, the carbonaceous residue is removed from the cathode and is purified to yield carbon nanotubes."

    I assume this means she's identified the electric properties of the metal catalyst as the significant factor in the success of those techniques, and simply, with genius, replaces those properties with an electric current. You could probably do the same thing using a metamaterial or an EM radiation cavity, if you wanted to bypass the patent.

    * "Intert gas" is usually helium, or the much, much cheaper alternative of nitrogen.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351