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100 amps of electricity crackle in a vacuum chamber, creating a
spark that transforms carbon vapor into tiny structures. Depending
on the conditions, these structures can be shaped like little,
60-atom soccer balls, or like rolled-up tubes of atoms, arranged
in a chicken-wire pattern, with rounded ends. These tiny, carbon
nanotubes, discovered by Sumio Iijima at NEC labs in 1991, have
amazing properties. They are 100 times stronger than steel, but
weigh only one-sixth as much. They are incredibly resilient
under physical stress; even when kinked to a 120-degree angle,
they will bounce back to their original form, undamaged. And
they can carry electrical current at levels that would vaporize
ordinary copper wires.
Learn more about carbon nanotubes from the many resources on this site, listed below. More information on Carbon nanotubes can be found here.
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