Extremely lightweight, electrically highly conductive and more stable than steel: due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) would be ideal for applications ranging from ultra-lightweight batteries to high-performance plastics and medical implants. However, it has been difficult for science and industry to transfer CNTs’ extraordinary characteristics at the nano-scale into a functional industrial application. The CNTs either cannot be combined adequately with other materials, or if they can be combined, they then lose their beneficial properties.
Scientists from the Functional Nanomaterials working group at Kiel University (CAU) and the University of Trento have developed an alternative method, with which the tiny tubes can be combined with other materials so that they retain their characteristic properties. As such, they “felt” the thread-like tubes into a stable 3D network that is able to withstand extreme forces. The research results have been published in Nature Communications.1