Carbon nanotubes are pretty cool. The microscopic, cylindrical structures are physically strong and highly conductive, making them a potentially attractive alternative to copper wiring. Actually building a usable cable out of the things has stumped scientists since the 80s, but researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have made one that equals the electrical conductivity of copper wire with just one sixth the weight.
The cable uses lengths of double-walled nanotubes that are flexible enough to be knotted together. Attaching multiple lengths in this manner doesn't affect the cable's conductivity, according to the researchers, who were able to power a standard light bulb for days using power from a wall socket. The nanotubes are said to have a higher current density than copper, and they produce very little heat. That particular combination is what makes nanotube technology an intriguing proposition for integrated circuits like microprocessors.
Despite their ability to carry high current densities, carbon nanotubes generate little heat because the electron flow doesn't disturb the surrounding atoms. In traditional metal conductors, electron flow "causes a scattering of electrons within the lattice of the material," which jostles the surrounding atoms. The resulting friction produces heat.
Although carbon nanotubes aren't yet ready for commercial applications, it's nice to see progress being made in the field. I suspect we'll be hearing quite a lot more about them in the future.
|Samsung's Portable SSD T3 reviewed||7|
|TR BBQ Day Shortbread||23|
|Watch the "second-10th" TR BBQ live in 360 degrees right now||10|
|G.Skill hooks up the TR BBQ with some giveaway goodies||12|
|We threw a Minecraft party to test Samsung's Gear VR headset||9|
|Deals of the week: cheap solid-state storage and more||23|
|Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 hot-rods Polaris 10||63|
|AMD gets back in the black with its second-quarter financials||42|
|Nvidia unveils a Pascal-powered Titan X with 11 TFLOPS on tap||190|
|I'll...just review the thin air on my desk where a GTX 1060 would fit, since that's what we have.||+116|