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Scientists Create And Grow Nanotube Seeds

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posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 05:59 PM

Rice University chemists today revealed the first method for cutting
carbon nanotubes into "seeds" and using those seeds to sprout new
The findings offer hope that seeded growth may one day produce
the large quantities of pure nanotubes needed for dozens of materials

Like vintners who hope to grow new vineyards from a handful of
grape vine cuttings, Rice's chemists hope their new method of seeded
growth for carbon nanotubes will allow them to reproduce their very
best samples en masse.

"Carbon nanotubes come in lots of diameters and types, and our goal
is to take a pure sample of just one type and duplicate it in large
quantities," said corresponding author James Tour, director of Rice's
Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL).
"We've shown that the concept can work."

The nanotube seeds are about 200 nanometers long and one nano-
meter wide – length-to-diameter dimensions roughly equal to a 16-foot
garden house.
After cutting, the seeds underwent a series of chemical modifications.
Bits of iron were attached at each end, and a polymer wrapper was
added that allowed the seeds to stick to a smooth piece of silicon oxide.
After burning away the polymer and impurities, the seeds were placed
inside a pressure-controlled furnace filled with ethylene gas.
With the iron acting as a catalyst, the seeds grew spontaneously from
both ends, growing to more than 30 times their initial length – imagine
that 16-foot water hose growing by more than 500 feet – in just a few


This is very cool, and has a possibility of huge change.

Even though it's still only able to produce a smal amount using
this method, as it develops it will be able to grow more and more

This could revolutinize many technologies and make some
technologies possible that are currently just outside are capability
of creating, such as a Space Elevator.

Comments, Opinions?

posted on Nov, 18 2006 @ 11:03 PM
This is pretty cool. Whats the deal with the space elevator?

posted on Nov, 18 2006 @ 11:08 PM

Originally posted by semperfoo
This is pretty cool. Whats the deal with the space elevator?

It's sort of long to explian what one is, beyond the obvious name,
so here's the wikipedia link/page.

Sapce Elevator

The reason you'd need nanotubes for a space elevator is because
the sheer tensile strength needed for the cable would make it to
heavy to use conventional materials, and since nanotubes are
both 10 times stronger than steel and incredibly light, they make
a perfect material to construct it out of.

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