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In something of a "downer" for space elevator fans, Pugno has calculated that inevitable defects will greatly reduce the strength of any manufactured nanotubes. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that flawless individual nanotubes can withstand about 100 gigapascals of tension; however, if a nanotube is missing just one carbon atom, it can reduce its strength by as much as thirty percent. Bulk materials made of many connected nanotubes are even weaker, averaging less than 1 gigapascal in strength.
In order to function, a space elevator ribbon would need to withstand at least 62 gigapascals of tension. It therefore appears that the defects described above would eliminate carbon nanotubes as a usable material for a space elevator cable. Pugno will publish his paper in the July edition of Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. Nanotube enthusiasts counter that ribbons made of close-packed long nanotubes would demonstrate cooperative friction forces that could make up for weaknesses in individual nanotubes.
Originally posted by kozmo
I still can't believe that anyone actually believed that this would be possible in the first place. I don't need any fancy physics tests or ASTM test results to indicate to me that this was a bad idea - this is just my opinion.
Originally posted by Xeven
Yea if the history life had been full of people like some of the above posters. We would all still be huddled around some water vent in the bottom of the ocean lving with the bacteria.