David Kirkpatrick

April 8, 2009

Nanotubes making Plexi stronger

A nanotech breakthroughwith immediate applications. Carbon nanotubes make PMMA plastic, used in manufacturing shatterproof glass-substitutes, more strong.

From the link:

The plastic, known as PMMA, is most commonly used to make shatterproof glass-substitute materials, such as the brands Plexiglas and Lucite. The researchers reinforced PMMA with both single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes and found that, while both types were effective, the highest was achieved with the multi-walled nanotubes, which resemble several single-walled nanotubes nested together.

Bulk materials reinforced with nanostructures are the future of materials, beginning to replace composites made with micrometer-sized particles. Carbon nanotubes are a natural choice because they are exceptionally strong, and the multi-walled varieties are especially tough because of their more complex structures; they can contain up to 50 nested nanotubes.

A nanotube-enforced PMMA fiber being stretched, forming narrow “necks.” Image courtesty H. Daniel Wagner.

A nanotube-enforced PMMA fiber being stretched, forming narrow “necks.” Image courtesty H. Daniel Wagner.

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