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Technology Hardware

Buckypaper — Out of the Lab, Into the Market 125

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the now-roll-it-into-a-ball-to-blow-my-mind dept.
doomsdaywire writes "Buckypaper isn't exactly news to anyone here. However, this article quotes Ben Wang, director of Florida State's High-Performance Materials Institute, saying, 'Our plan is perhaps in the next 12 months we'll begin maybe to have some commercial products.' The article continues: '"If this thing goes into production, this very well could be a very, very game-changing or revolutionary technology to the aerospace business," said Les Kramer, chief technologist for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, which is helping fund the Florida State research. ... The long-range goal is to build planes, automobiles and other things with buckypaper composites. The military also is looking at it for use in armor plating and stealth technology.'"
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Buckypaper — Out of the Lab, Into the Market

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  • maybe (Score:5, Funny)

    by cheebie (459397) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:31PM (#25418605)

    My plan is perhaps in the next 12 months I'll begin maybe to believe this is something more than vaporware.

    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      See also this sentence from TFA
      "important progress that may soon turn hype into reality."
      Still, good stuff.
      Homer:"Hmmm, buckypaper..."

  • by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... com minus physic> on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:38PM (#25418719) Homepage Journal

    If a sphere that looks like a geodesic dome is bucminsterfullerine, then a tube that looks like a roll of fake PVC tiling should be called polybathroomfloorine. Except James Blish used that for a graphite-like chemical explosive already.

  • I hope they make a paper bicycle like the one in Virtual Light.

    • You can get carbon fiber bike frames now. Bucky paper just seems a new angle on carbon fiber.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      You can make an bike out of ordinary paper. I have a pen made of tightly-wrapped paper, its indestructible (well, I'm sure it isn't, but its very strong stuff). A paper bike is certainly feasible, if the paper core of the bike was suitably 'carbon wrapped'.

      • Newspaper can be laid up just like fiberglass and is surprisingly strong. I've heard of people building racing shells out of newspaper and shellac resin for the binder. It wouldn't compare with fiberglass and epoxy resin or even polyester but it certainly would be much cheaper to purchase, so it might be stronger per dollar than fiberglass

    • I know one thing: it makes proposing crashing paper airplanes into Rudy Guliani sound a tad more threatening than intended.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:45PM (#25418819)

    According to the article, buckypaper "conducts electricity like copper or silicon." So it's either a conductor or an insulator.

    The article smells like roses or shit.

    • by Obyron (615547) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:47PM (#25418855)
      Clearly this is a quantum material.
    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:06PM (#25419069)

      According to the article, buckypaper "conducts electricity like copper or silicon." So it's either a conductor or an insulator. The article smells like roses or shit.

      Actually, carbon nanotubes [wikipedia.org] can be either metallic or semiconducting, depending on the type. (Different "types" have a different arrangement of the graphene hexagons with respect to the tube axis: zigzag, armchair, or chiral.) So it is in fact correct to say that carbon nanotubes are either conductors or semiconductors.

      Buckypaper [wikipedia.org] is made of nanotubes, so it will be conducting or semiconducting depending on its composition. Most nanotube production techniques create a mixture of tube types, so most samples of buckypaper will be a mixture of metallic and semiconducting components. The final electrical properties will then of course depend on the relative inclusion of the various types. (As well as other things, like alignment of the tubes, and interactions or bridging between tubes.) This is a virtue of buckypaper, in fact, since (in principle) we can tune the electrical properties as required for a particular application (while maintaining nearly the same mechanical performance).

      (I agree that the article is poorly worded. The sentence is technically correct, but that's probably an accident.)

    • Schrodinger's bullshit.

      Smells like shit, AND has a the sharp, rich aroma of pure vanilla.

    • According to the article, buckypaper "conducts electricity like copper or silicon." So it's either a conductor or an insulator.

      well that will either be very good or very bad at mitgating lightning stikes if they ever make a tether for a space elevator out of this stuff.

      According to the article, buckypaper "conducts electricity like copper or silicon." So it's either a conductor or an insulator.

      Is even that strength to weight enough for a tether?

      • arrgh second quote was supposed to be

        Buckypaper is 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel when sheets of it are stacked and pressed together to form a composite.

  • ALways the same (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I have yet to read about some invention that doesn't have some military tie-in. It seems like we don't invent things for any other purpose anymore. Is the US military really that underpowered? I doubt it.

    • Re:Always the same (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kemanorel (127835) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:04PM (#25419031)

      In the larger view, did we ever? Two things have spurred most advances in human history... War and sex. Of the two, war has been the dominant force for the large bulk of it. Even vaccines have war uses. If your army is immune to some biological agent and your enemy's is not, you can then use that agent as a weapon (unless you're playing by some arbitrary set of rules such as the Geneva Conventions - Note: I make no claim as to whether the GCs are positive or negative, but they are pretty arbitrary.). Even vaccines for chronic diseases such as polio help one's army by increasing the numbers of able-bodied workers and soldiers and decreasing the numbers of those who need support.

      So what if it is developed for military purposes? It will trickle to the private sector soon enough, just as GPS, the Internet, and carbon-fiber composites have.

      • by shogarth (668598) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:24PM (#25419305)

        Actually, it's all about sex. Invasion is always about stealing resources [wikipedia.org] to make a particular leader [wikipedia.org] more powerful (and thus more likely [wikipedia.org] to reproduce [wikipedia.org]).

        It's also a great way to acquire distant territory to which you ship off excess kids. [wikipedia.org]

      • > In the larger view, did we ever? Two things have spurred most advances in human
        > history... War and sex.

        War is about sex (as are all power games) and has had a net retarding effect on technological progress. While it has had an accellerating effect in some areas it has always more than made up for it by retarding progress in others. Every innovation credtited to war would eventually have occured anyway and for every such innovation there are many others that war delayed.

        As for sex spurring advance

  • by Goldsmith (561202) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:49PM (#25418877)

    If you want, you can get nanotubes (in multiple forms, including buckypaper) from Unidym [unidym.com]. This is the company which was founded by Richard Smalley. They've spent the last decade basically buying up patents and companies working with carbon nanotubes (in addition to doing their own research). If the Florida State guys have anything which isn't already covered by a Unidym patent, they'll just get bought up, or brought in, or something like that. Unidym seems to like collecting academic research partners.

    • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:13PM (#25419167)

      OK, guys it's Friday, so lay off the Troll moderation, but picture this:

      "Hello, I'm Dick Smalley, and I specialize in production of small things!"

    • Do you somehow think that somebody buying up anything having to do with micro carbon structures is a good thing? That's about as good as having a name like Dick Smalley. (I know it was said elsewhere, but that is like a target painted on somebody saying "kick me". I would have changed my name while still an infant.)
      • by Goldsmith (561202)

        It's just the way it is. From my (academic) point of view, it's very nice that one of the major nanotech companies was founded by an academic, is run by academics and treats their academic research partners well.

        We've been through ~20 years of unsuccessful carbon nanotube startups and failed projects from large corporations, it's time for us to produce something useful. Frankly, there are a few more patent trolls that need to be bought out before we're able to do that.

  • The eternal sticky note!

    Never fades, can hold-up over 200lbs.

    now, make the buckypaper into touch-sensitive photovoltaic e-buckypaper with a GB of memory or so and you have the perfect notekeeping device.

  • Conductive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Saturday October 18, 2008 @03:27AM (#25422555)

    Whoa. Didn't know that.

    Soon as I read "airplane" and "conductive" in the same article ideas started coming to me.

    Umm.........lessee......If you alternated NON-conductive layers in with the Buckypaper composite body of the aircraft, one could theoretically design/build-in all the electronic circuitry right into the structural body. Printed circuits inside the walls of the aircraft, essentially. Save even more weight, not to mention cost, when you could toss all that copper/silver currently used for wiring.

    Build the body of the aircraft, then simply add more layers to the inside for circuitry.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Yay. And if some of the electronics fail you have to replace the hull or cut a piece out.

      • "Build the body of the aircraft, then simply add more layers to the inside for circuitry."

        Or simply disconnect the bad circuit panel and simply lay another one right over the top.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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