Nanotubes

  • Whether they're in airplane wings, bridges or other critical structures, cracks can cause catastrophic failure before they're large enough to be noticed by the human eye. A strain-sensing "skin" applied to such objects could help, though, by lighting up when exposed to laser light.
  • Science
    Imagine if there were comfortable and inexpensive wearable fabrics that were capable of detecting a wide range of pressure and motion. Well, scientists at the University of Delaware have created just such a technology, and it could have some interesting applications.
  • Carbon atoms can form graphene sheets and buckyballs. Scientists have theorized that a third variation should exist with negative curvature, known as schwarzite. An international team has now found a way to create these structures, which may have unusual electrical, magnetic and optical properties.
  • Science
    ​While there are already portable keyboards that can be rolled up, we know how it is … sometimes you just want to crumple the thing up and jam it in your pocket. Well, new technology developed by South Korean scientists will allow you to do just that – plus the keyboards should be cheap, too.
  • ​While there are already systems that estimate tire wear, electrical engineers have developed a sensor that actually measures it in real time. The relatively simple device can reportedly track millimeter-scale changes in tread depth with 99 percent accuracy.
  • In the quest for a better lithium battery, one thing stands between scientists and a genuine breakthrough: dendrites. But if a new technology lives up to its potential, it could solve this problem and enable lithium-metal batteries that can hold three times the energy of lithium-ion ones.
  • The most commonly-used water filtration media are silicon gels and activated carbon. These can only be used once, however. By contrast, not only can filters made with carbon nanotubes be reused, but they're also reportedly more effective at removing organic pollutants.​
  • Graphene spends most of its time in a 2D form, but now a team at Rice University have used carbon nanotubes to reinforce graphene foam. The resulting 3D material can be molded into any shape, supports 3,000 times its own weight before springing back to its original height.
  • Researchers at MIT have invented a printing process that could turn a lot of potential breakthroughs, such as electricity-generating clothing and smart sutures, into an inexpensive reality.
  • Science
    Water normally freezes at 0° C (32° F) and boils at 100° C (212° F) at sea level. But MIT researchers have found that when contained inside carbon nanotubes, water can freeze solid at temperatures well above its usual boiling point, which could allow the creation of proton-conducting “ice wires”.
  • Science
    ​The strength of spinach isn't only in its nutrients, but also in its ability to be hacked to function as a sensor able to detect things like explosives, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • China-based scientists have discovered that by feeding graphene and carbon nanotubes to silkworms, the silk they produced was much stronger and could take on the ability to conduct electricity.