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Solar Sheets Lighter Than Feather, Stronger Than Steel

Nanotube SheetStory By Asim Waqar

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that University of Texas at Dallas scientists have made a remarkable breakthrough in the field of nanotechnology. The full article will be published in this Friday’s print version of the journal Science, and I for one will be lining up to read the full story.

University professors are not usually the most emotional of people, but what would drive a University of Houston professor to say “This is a big deal, a real big deal,” and “Every paragraph is a gold mine.”?

Well, due to advances in nanotechnology, our world is about to change. Check out the highlights:

– Yards of ribbons have been successfully run that are lighter than a feather but stronger than steel.
– Made entirely of carbon, they also conduct electricity.
– Sheets (measured in meters) created from nanotubes can be ‘pulled’ and created on the fly in minutes.
– The sheets can collect solar energy, and do so when bent or creased.

Possible applications mentioned:

– Blankets that could be unfurled in the desert to harvest energy for soldiers
– Clothing strong enough to repel a bullet
– Ultra lightweight sails for space travel (one-third of a square mile – only 66 pounds)
– Car doors strong enough to protect passengers and double as batteries

I cannot wait until tomorrow to see what else they can be used for. I would think of some ideas and write about them, but how am I going to compete with this scientifically spectacular group?

Read the Dallas Morning News article here.