Physicists have learned to weave threads from nanotubes

(ORDO NEWS) — Threads of three nanotubes generate electricity when twisted and stretched. In the future, they can be woven into ordinary fabric, making it “smart” or recharging wearable devices.

Carbon nanotubes are hollow ultrathin structures with walls only one atom thick. Back in 2017, researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas learned how to twist them without breaking, like rubber bands.

Such elastic structures are called “twistrons” (twistrons), and it has been shown that with additional twisting or stretching, electricity is generated in them.

The same team of scientists led by Ray Baughman presented a new approach to working with nanotubes.

This time they were woven into a single thread: taking several nanotubes, the researchers twisted each of them slightly in one direction, and then braided each other in the same or in the opposite direction.

Physicists have learned to weave threads from nanotubes 2

The experiments showed that the most promising option was twisting and weaving in the same direction when using three nanotubes.

According to the scientists, such nanotube filaments are capable of converting 17.4 percent of the tensile energy and up to 22.4 percent of the twisting energy into electricity.

For comparison: for previously obtained single “twistrons”, these figures did not reach even eight percent.

This performance allows the use of nanotube filaments even to generate electricity from the wave vibrations of the ocean.

This was demonstrated in the laboratory by attaching a thread with one end to a ball floating in an aquarium, and with the other end to its bottom.

Waves of salt water deformed the filaments, allowing energy to be removed from them.

In addition, nanotube filaments can be woven into ordinary cotton fabric. Scientists put a fragment of such tissue on the arm of a volunteer and managed to receive energy every time he flexed it at the elbow.

An array of several such structures with a total weight of only 3.2 milligrams made it possible to power an ionistor (supercapacitor) capable of supporting the operation of five miniature LEDs, which is comparable to the consumption of electronic clocks or temperature sensors.


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