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Nanotubes spring eternal

7:07pm, December 18, 2005

Forests of carbon nanotubes have acted as brushes, electron emitters, light-absorbing antennae, and even as glue mimicking the sticky fibers under geckos' feet. Now, researchers say such arrays of tiny carbon tubes are something else again—an amazing new kind of foam.

After growing thumbnail-size forests of nanotubes up to 2 millimeters tall, Pulickel M. Ajayan of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and his colleagues used a standard testing instrument to repeatedly apply and release vertical pressure.

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