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Carbon tubes, but not nano

New filaments could be more practical than nanotubes

By
5:36pm, August 6, 2008

Take solace, all ye who’ve grown weary of carbon nanotube promises: The latest tubes are anything but nano.

While trying to grow better, longer nanotubes, researchers accidentally discovered a new type of carbon filament that’s tens of thousands of times thicker. Christened “colossal carbon tubes,” the new structures aren’t quite as strong as nanotubes but are still 30 times stronger than Kevlar per unit weight, and are potentially easier to turn into applications, suggests a new study in an upcoming Physical Review Letters.

Though exceptionally strong, nanotubes are hard to weave into larger fibers. Labs around the

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