Carbon nanotubes have been popping on Giz for a while, touted as one of the next wonder-materials—but a new development in their manufacture means they may not remain “future technology” for long. In fact the work of a team at CSIRO and the University of Texas at Dallas means that commercial-scale production of sheets of carbon nanotube “textile” is possible at up to seven metres per minute.
And these are no ordinary textiles either: they’re transparent and way stronger than a sheet of steel. The team’s technique involves chemically-growing “forests” of nanotubes that self-assemble, and is reported in Science currently. If it proves true we may see nanotube materials replacing metals like steel pretty soon—though I’m not sure how many people would balk at flying in a plane with wings you can partly see through.