Above is a video demonstrating the performance of a badminton racket that uses strings made solely out of CNT yarn! The racket is strung with 700 micron diameter braided CNT yarn from DexMat.
This is no ordinary badminton racket! The strings are made entirely out of DexMat CNT yarn, offering superior performance, durability, and the ability to embed sensors and electronics directly into the rackets of the future because these CNT strings have high electrical conductivity. 700 micron diameter braided CNT yarn was used for the strings on this racket to match the typical diameter of polymer-based strings used in badminton rackets. Check out the video of the racket in action below:
Abstract: NASA is challenged to find ways of effectively shielding sensitive electronic equipment from electromagnetic interference (EMI) without adding significant weight to space flight vehicles and satellites (the heavier they are the more fuel they need to achieve orbit). EMI shielding for wire and cables is an attractive opportunity for weight reduction. However, with the advent of highly reusable next generation space vehicles, wiring must be not only light weight, but also strong and robust, capable of withstanding extreme conditions, intense vibration and long lifecycles. It is important that wire weight reductions do not come at the expense of mechanical strength or EMI shielding effectiveness. DexMat is developing a novel and highly conductive Carbon nanotube (CNT) EMI shield product that will allow for significant weight reduction without compromising mechanical strength or shield effectiveness. CNTs are advancing as the most promising solution for reducing the weight of spacecraft wires. The shielding effectiveness of CNT materials is comparable to that of heavy metal braids, but at a fraction of the weight. Compared to a copper wire with the same diameter, a CNT fiber has 6 times higher strength, more than 6 times lower density, and at least 25 times higher flexure tolerance, essential qualities for conductors in aerospace applications. Under this Phase I project, DexMat will develop CNT shielding braid (made from CNT yarn from Dexmat) that can potentially increase the mechanical strength of CNT tape used as a primary EMI shield. These CNT braids will be of different thicknesses and area coverage, to augment the performance and product appeal of CNT tapes. Additionally, DexMat will begin to conduct the first accelerated aging tests to determine the impact on mechanical strength of shielding made with CNT tapes, CNT yard braids, and hybrid CNT tape/braid combinations.
Potential NASA Applications: The first planned product to contain DexMat technology is lightweight CNT cables. CNT cables combine high strength, electrical and thermal conductivity with low density, making them ideal for aerospace applications where weight reduction is a priority, including reusable next generation space vehicles and satellites. Given the tremendous costs associated with satellite launches, NASA and the aerospace industry will see substantial savings from our CNT-based wire.
Potential Non-NASA Applications: DexMat CNT technology has applications in the military aircraft and commercial aviation markets, to effectively reduce weight of aircraft and satellite designs. For a single-aisle aircraft, a 1% reduction of in weight can lead to a net cost savings of $240K-$1.6M per year in use. For larger aircraft, the savings can reach $2.4-5M. Additional applications include wearable electronics, eTextiles and bioelectronics.
Researchers in South Korea made a tiny loudspeaker, and then used it to play a violin concerto
A variety of nanomaterials have been used over the years in loudspeakers and microphones. Nanoparticles have replaced permanent magnets in loudspeakers and a thin film of carbon nanotubes has done pretty much the same. And, of course, someone tried to use graphene to reproduce sound for microphones.
Now researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea have made a nanomembrane out of silver nanowires to serve as flexible loudspeakers or microphones. The researchers even went so far as to demonstrate their nanomembrane by making it into a loudspeaker that could be attached to skin and used it to play the final movement of a violin concerto—namely, La Campanella by Niccolo Paganini.
In research described in the journal Science Advances, the Korean researchers embedded a silver nanowire network within a polymer-based nanomembrane. The decision to use silver nanowires rather than the other types of nanomaterials that have been used in the past was based on the comparative ease of hybridizing the nanowires into the polymer.
In addition, the researchers opted for nanowires because the other materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes are not as mechanically strong at nanometer-scale thickness when in freestanding form, according to Hyunhyub Ko, an associate professor at UNIST and coauthor of the research. It is this thickness that is the critical element of the material.
“The biggest breakthrough of our research is the development of ultrathin, transparent, and conductive hybrid nanomembranes with nanoscale thickness, less than 100 nanometers,” said Ko. “These outstanding optical, electrical, and mechanical properties of nanomembranes enable the demonstration of skin-attachable and imperceptible loudspeaker and microphone.”
The nanomembrane loudspeaker operates by emitting thermoacoustic sound through the oscillation of the surrounding air brought on by temperature differences. The periodic Joule heating that occurs when an electric current passes through a conductor and produces heat leads to these temperature oscillations.
For the operation of the microphone, the hybrid nanomembrane is sandwiched between elastic films with tiny patterns. In this way, the nanomembrane can precisely detect the sound and the vibration of the vocal cords based on a triboelectric voltage that results from the contact with the elastic films. In these loudspeakers and microphones, the silver nanowires enable both the electrical conductivity and give the nanomembranes their freestanding strength.
While the researchers demonstrated the technology by applying a thin film of the nanomembrane on skin, this may not turn out to be a practical application of the technology, according to the researchers. This is because the performance of the thermoacoustic loudspeaker is proportional to the speaker size and temperature change of the speaker.
If it were directly attached to the skin, the input power level per unit area would increase too much for the generation of a large sound.
Ko added: “For the commercial applications, the mechanical durability of nanomebranes and the performance of loudspeaker and microphone should be improved further.”
|(Nanowerk News) Ingested or injected pharmaceuticals can target specific molecules involved in disease processes, but get distributed throughout the body where they can cause unwanted side effects. An approach known as electroceuticals aims to avoid systemic exposure by using small wires to electrically monitor and manipulate individual nerves that control organ function and carry information about disease. Despite the promise of electroceuticals, it has been challenging to develop long-term therapies due to the lack of biocompatible wires.|
|Now, NIBIB-funded researches have spun carbon nanotubes into flexible, nerve-sized wires or yarns capable of high-fidelity long-term connections in live animals. The development of these biocompatible yarns opens the possibility of new bioelectric diagnostics and therapies through regulation of internal organ function at the single nerve level.|
|Individual carbon nanotubes are pulled from a substrate and spun into the flexible carbon nanotube yarn. (© NPG)|
|All the organs of the body such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys are automatically controlled by nerves that stretch from the brainstem to each organ. These nerves control organ functions such as heartbeat, breathing rates, and blood pressure, making constant adjustments in response to environmental and physiological changes. Variations in the electrical activity in this area of the brain, known as the autonomic nervous system, can also be predictors, indicators or causes of disease development.|
|“Monitoring and manipulating the autonomic nervous system to both understand and potentially treat disease has been an intriguing yet understudied approach to medicine,” explains Michael Wolfson, Ph.D., director of the NIBIB program in Rehabilitation Engineering and Implantable Medical Devices. “This is largely due to technical limitations in being able to insert wires into nerves that can reliably and safely record electrical activity over long periods of time and under different physiological conditions.”|
|In a study reported in the journal Scientific Reports (“Chronic interfacing with the autonomic nervous system using carbon nanotube (CNT) yarn electrodes”), bioengineers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio describe the development of highly flexible carbon nanotube (CNT) yarn electrodes that were capable of months-long electrical recording in major nerves of the autonomic nervous system in rats.|
|The CNT yarns are essentially, just that, yarns made from a “forest” of hundreds of carbon nanotubes that are pulled from the metal surface they are grown on and spun into a highly flexible, highly conductive wire 1/100th the size of a human hair.|
|The carbon nanotube yarn is wound around a tungsten needle for insertion into a nerve. The coiling of the yarn causes it to remain solidly embedded in the nerve after the needle is withdrawn. Actual needle and yarn (top). Diagram showing detail of how yarn is wrapped around the needle for insertion (bottom). (© NPG)|
|Current technologies for recording electrical signals from nerves include relatively large stiff tungsten needles used by neurologists to obtain readings from single nerves of patients for several hours, but must be removed before causing lasting nerve damage. Other wire electrode technologies can record nerve signals for short periods but because of their dimensions and stiff mechanical properties they are not suitable for long-term recording in small nerves.|
|“The currently available electrode technologies simply do not match the mechanical properties of nerves,” explains Dominique Durand, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western and senior researcher on the CNT yarn work. “With those types of electrodes, it’s often like sticking glass into spaghetti. Our CNT yarns are similar in size and flexibility to actual nerves. These properties allow them to be stealthily inserted into specific nerves and remain there for months without destroying the tissue or inducing an attack by the immune system.”|
|The combination of the biocompatibility of the CNT yarns and their outstanding ability to carry an electrical signal that is 10 times stronger than current technologies makes them ideal for long term recording of specific nerve signals. Finally, the lack of nerve damage keeps the surrounding axons intact, which helps to eliminate background noise. Thus, the CNT yarns have an excellent signal to noise ratio (SNR), which is critical for this type of research.|
|The group tested the CNT yarns in two major nerves in the autonomic system in rats. One study involved the vagus nerve, which stretches throughout the body to connect to numerous organs. The nerve is known to control and monitor a range of functions including heart rate, digestive tract movement, sweating, and immune response.|
|CNT yarn electrodes were also inserted into the glossopharyngeal nerve. The nerve is connected to a number of organs including the carotid artery, and parts of the ear, tongue and salivary glands where it is known to be involved in swallowing.|
|Carbon nanotube yarn embedded into the vagus nerve of a rat. (© NPG)|
|In both nerves, recordings of stable electrical activity were maintained over a 10-week period. Pulses of nerve activity were also monitored while the animal responded to physiological challenges. The challenges included distension of the rat’s stomach with saline solution, and short durations where the rats were in low oxygen environments. In each case, the physiological changes induced by the challenge resulted in easily detectable changes in electrical activity that were recorded using the CNT yarn implants over the entire 10-week period of the experiments.|
|“Although this is early research, we believe the results demonstrate that this technology can be used for reliable long term electrical monitoring of physiological functions,” says Durand. “This is an important step in pursuing monitoring of disease progression through the nerves that control the function of the diseased organ.”|
|Durand explains that the goal is to learn what electrical signatures or profiles are indicative of disease development and to use that for early intervention, potentially by electrical stimulation or even blocking of the nerve. For example, one therapy for severe hypertension is the cutting of the renal nerve. This is obviously irreversible. Durand, explained that CNT yarn electrodes could be used to block the nerve impulse without cutting the nerve, making the treatment reversible.|
|The group is also excited about the potential of this recording method to improve prosthetics. “When an arm has been amputated there are tens of thousands of neurons remaining,” said Durand. “The approach would be to insert the CNT yarns into individual nerves and record the electrical signals that are created as the individual thinks about moving the missing arm—essentially learning the electrical signals that are formed by the intention to move the arm.” The ultimate goal is to develop neural interfaces capable of translating those electrical signals into better control of the prosthetic by the user.|
|Source: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering|
Physicists from the University of Cincinnati will soon be able to charge smartphones using clothes made from carbon nanotubes. With the assistance of their colleagues from the BBC, Wright-Patterson, the experts intend to create a special material, which because of the peculiarities of carbon nanotubes would be exceptionally heat-resistant conducting electricity, and will also differ for their durability. Professor mark Schultz, is also involved in the study declared that the task of scientists is to use the resistance and conductivity for energy storage, which can charge a variety of gadgets.
Schulz said that at the moment the science is on the verge of a “carbon revolution,” as this material may soon completely replace metals because of its strength, low weight and various additional properties. Yarns made from nanotubes can store energy, replacing bulky batteries, which soon altogether sink into oblivion.
Full Article: https://sivtelegram.media/physics-charge-smartphones-clothes-made-from-carbon-nanotubes/30672/
Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed flexible terahertz imagers based on chemically “tunable” carbon nanotube materials. The findings expand the scope of terahertz applications to include wrap-around, wearable technologies as well as large-area photonic devices.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are beginning to take the electronics world by storm, and now their use in terahertz (THz) technologies has taken a big step forward.
Due to their excellent conductivity and unique physical properties, CNTs are an attractive option for next-generation electronic devices. One of the most promising developments is their application in THz devices. Increasingly, THz imagers are emerging as a safe and viable alternative to conventional imaging systems across a wide range of applications, from airport security, food inspection and art authentication to medical and environmental sensing technologies.
The demand for THz detectors that can deliver real-time imaging for a broad range of industrial applications has spurred research into low-cost, flexible THz imaging systems. Yukio Kawano is of the Laboratory for Future Interdisciplinary Research of Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech). In 2016 he announced the development of wearable terahertz technologies based on multiarrayed carbon nanotubes.
Kawano and his team have since been investigating THz detection performance for various types of CNT materials, in recognition of the fact that there is plenty of room for improvement to meet the needs of industrial-scale applications.
Now, they report the development of flexible THz imagers for CNT films that can be fine-tuned to maximize THz detector performance.
Publishing their findings in ACS Applied Nano Materials, the new THz imagers are based on chemically adjustable semiconducting CNT films.
By making use of a technology known as ionic liquid gating, the researchers demonstrated that they could obtain a high degree of control over key factors related to THz detector performance for a CNT film with a thickness of 30 micrometers. This level of thickness was important to ensure that the imagers would maintain their free-standing shape and flexibility.
“Additionally,” the team says, “we developed gate-free Fermi-level tuning based on variable-concentration dopant solutions and fabricated a Fermi-level-tuned p?n junction CNT THz imager.” In experiments using this new type of imager, the researchers achieved successful visualization of a metal paper clip inside a standard envelope.
The bendability of the new THz imager and the possibility of even further fine-tuning will expand the range of CNT-based devices that could be developed in the near future.
Moreover, low-cost fabrication methods such as inkjet coating could make large-area THz imaging devices more readily available.
 Ionic liquid gating: A technique used to modulate a material’s charge carrier properties.
 Fermi level: A measure of the electrochemical potential for electrons, which is important for determining the electrical and thermal properties of solids. The term is named after the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi.
 p-n junction: Refers to the interface between positive (p-type) and negative (n-type) semiconducting materials. These junctions form the basis of semiconductor electronic devices.
Tokyo Institute of Technology. “Scientists fine-tune carbon nanotubes for flexible, fingertip-wearable terahertz imagers.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180628105041.htm>
New Knitting Technique Produces Electronic Smart Fabrics at Industrial Scales
Meet the bike shorts of the future.
Australian scientists have developed a knitting technique capable of producing electrically-conductive Spandex-carbon nanotube hybrid textiles at industrial scales. As described earlier this month in a paper published in ACS Nano, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.6b04125 the stretchable fabrics “exhibit excellent performance” as sensors and artificial muscles. Potential applications include adjustable smart clothing, robotics, and medical devices.
At the core of the material is regular old Spandex, which is basically artificial super-rubber spun into fibers. In the process outlined in the paper, SPX filaments are coated with aerogel sheets of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes have the neat property of tunable electrical conductivity, and by tweaking the fabrication process, it’s possible to create materials with electrical and mechanical properties that change as the fabric changes shape. Meet the bike shorts of the future.
“The coating method operates at room temperature, requires no solvents, and does not compromise textile production speeds,” the Australian team reports. As such, the hybrid yarns are also pretty cheap to produce—a key requirement.
What makes the stuff really interesting is how it converts electricity into mechanical work. With an applied voltage, it’s possible to get the textile to contract by as much as 33 percent as it heats up. The material then relaxes as the voltage is removed and it cools down. This mechanical power output maxes out at around 1.28 kW/kg, which, the paper notes, is well beyond what’s offered by mammalian skeletal muscle. To demonstrate, the researchers used their new material to implement a knee brace, as below:
Another possible biomedical application is as a “lymph sleeve,” a compression sleeve used to treat lymphedema, a common side effect of cancer treatments.
“The lymph sleeve, for example, will be developed using lightweight actuating fabric that will detect swelling and then respond by ‘squeezing’ the arm to enhance lymph flow,” Javad Foroughi, the lead author of the new paper, told Physics World. “We are also investigating the possibility of employing it in artificial-heart muscles for positive support of the right ventricle.”
Original story by Michael Byrne / Motherboard Vice.com
Carbon Nanotubes Could Provide the Military With Battery-Power in Textiles
The carbon fibers can be spooled into strong, conductive thread. Like spider silk, it is stretchy and strong. Credit: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services
Carbon nanotubes could lead to clothing that can double as a battery, a discovery that could be particularly useful for the military.
A team from the University of Cincinnati—in a partnership with the Wright-Patterson Air force base—are working to take advantage of the properties of carbon nanotubes in developing new applications for soldiers in the field.
“The major challenge is translating these beautiful properties to take advantage of their strength, conductivity and heat resistance,” UC professor Vesselin Shanov, who co-directs UC’s Nanoworld Laboratories, said in a statement.
Graduate student Mark Haase has worked with Air Force researchers over the past year to find applications for carbon nanotubes using X-ray computer tomography to analyze samples.
“This pushes us to work in groups and to specialize,” Haase said in a statement. “These are the same dynamics we see in corporate research and industry. Engineering is a group activity these days so we can take advantage of that.”
The researchers used chemical vapor deposition to grow the carbon nanotubes on silicon wafers the size of a quarter under heat in a vacuum chamber.
“Each particle has a nucleation point,” Haase said. “Colloquially, we can call it a seed. Our carbon-containing gas is introduced into the reactor. When the carbon gas interacts with our ‘seed,’ it breaks down and re-forms on the surface. We let it grow until it reaches the size we want.”
UC’s Nanoworld Lab set a world record in 2007 by growing a nanotube that stretched nearly two centimeters, the longest carbon nanotube array produced in a lab at the time. The lab can currently create nanotubes that are substantially longer.
They were able to stretch the little fibrous square over an industrial spool in the lab to convert the sheet of carbon to a spun thread that can be woven into textiles.
“It’s exactly like a textile,” Shanov said. “We can assemble them like a machine thread and use them in applications ranging from sensors to track heavy metals in water or energy storage devices, including super capacitors and batteries.”
This ultimately could lead to a much lighter load for soldiers in battle.
“As much as one-third of the weight they carry is just batteries to power all of their equipment,” Haase said. “So even if we can shave a little off that, it’s a big advantage for them in the field.”
The study was published in Materials Research Express.
Full article by Kenny Walter – Digital Reporter @RandMagazine here.
Video: Watch a simple fabric wristband control small household appliances
[Image above] Credit: American Chemical Society, YouTube
We have come quite a long way from the TV remote control.
Technology has undoubtedly made our lives a lot easier in many respects. We’ve just about reached the point where we will be able to control nearly everything in our home remotely with the touch of a smartphone.
But for those little tasks inside the home, why bother with a smartphone? What if you wanted to use small appliances or your computer without messing with the on/off switches on each device?
Several researchers have already solved that problem by designing electronic textiles that could enable users to control a computer or small appliance by swiping a finger over fabric.
Although e-textiles are already on the market in many forms, the researchers wanted to improve upon existing technology. Most have “poor air permeability, can’t be laundered or are too costly or complex to mass-produce,” according to a news story from the American Chemical Society.
So the researchers developed a self-powered nanogenerator by screen-printing conductive carbon nanotube ink onto nylon fabric. And since this was a wearable device, of course, it needed to be washable. They combined polyurethane, a synthetic polymer, with the carbon nanotubes, adhering them to the fabric. After wrapping the entire device with silk and turning it into a wristband, the researchers connected the device to a computer and other small appliances to demonstrate how it could turn on and control appliances from several feet away.
And according to the researchers in the article, their e-textile is inexpensive to mass produce.
Besides making life easier for us able-bodied folks, the device could also help those with limited mobility or even disabled people better navigate their environment.
The paper, published in ACS Nano, is “Screen-Printed Washable Electronic Textiles as Self-Powered Touch/Gesture Tribo-Sensors for Intelligent Human–Machine Interaction” (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b02477).
Original Article Published on June 20th, 2018 | By: Faye Oney
Watch the video below to see how the e-textile device can control small household appliances and a computer.