Space Elevator Kickstarter Project

One of our customers, Dr. Peter Renteln, has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund experiments in methods of mechanically strengthening carbon nanotube yarns.  Dr. Renteln’s ultimate goal is to help bridge the gap between the current performance of carbon nanotube yarns and the type of performance that might one day make a Space Elevator project possible.

DexMat carbon nanotube braid was used for some of the initial testing in this project, and we are always interested to see if methods can be developed that will make our materials even stronger. We are excited to follow this project and see the outcome of these experiments!

You can read about and contribute to the Kickstarter project here.

Chopping Carbon Nanotube Yarn with an Axe (Part 2!)

Tyson took a trip to the Class Axe Throwing range in Dallas, TX recently, so it seemed like the perfect time to make a follow-up to the recent video in which we demonstrated our carbon nanotube yarn surviving an axe blow. In this new video, we see how well some of our yarns and films survive when an axe is thrown at them!

A big thank you to the folks at Class Axe Throwing for letting us perform this fun test at their range, and for helping us out with some of the throwing!

Carbon Nanotube Yarn with Nylon Insulation

We’ve had a couple of questions about our ability to apply electrical insulation to our carbon nanotube yarn products, so we wanted to provide you with a video showing off what we are currently able to do. We don’t yet have the equipment necessary to apply polymer or rubber insulation to our CNT yarn, but we are able to put a braided jacket of nylon thread around the yarn, as shown here!

We’ve recently added one grade of nylon-insulated CNT yarn as a product in our online store. We can apply this kind of insulation to other grades of CNT yarn as well; if you are interested in this, you can request a quote using the contact form at https://dexmat.com/contact/ or by writing to us at info@dexmat.com!

Rice University and Texas Heart Institute: Damaged Hearts Rewired with Nanotube Fibers

Today we want to share the following press release from Rice University in order to shine a spotlight on a newly-published paper about an exciting medical application of carbon nanotube fibers! This work was done by a collection of researchers at Rice University and the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Città della Speranza Pediatric Research Institute in Padua, Italy. Rice alumnus Colin Young, one of the co-authors on the paper, is currently a member of the DexMat team!

Damaged hearts rewired with nanotube fibers

Texas Heart doctors confirm Rice-made, conductive carbon threads are electrical bridges

HOUSTON – (Aug. 13, 2019) – Thin, flexible fibers made of carbon nanotubes have now proven able to bridge damaged heart tissues and deliver the electrical signals needed to keep those hearts beating.

Scientists at Texas Heart Institute (THI) report they have used biocompatible fibers invented at Rice University in studies that showed sewing them directly into damaged tissue can restore electrical function to hearts.
Rice University Professor Matteo Pasquali, left, and Dr. Mehdi Razavi of the Texas Heart Institute check a thread of carbon nanotube fiber invented in Pasquali's Rice lab. They are collaborating on a method to use the fibers as electrical bridges to restore conductivity to damaged hearts. (Credit: Texas Heart Institute)

Rice Professor Matteo Pasquali, left, and Dr. Mehdi Razavi of the Texas Heart Institute check a thread of carbon nanotube fiber invented in Pasquali’s Rice lab. They are collaborating on a method to use the fibers as electrical bridges to restore conductivity to damaged hearts. Courtesy of the Texas Heart Institute

“Instead of shocking and defibrillating, we are actually correcting diseased conduction of the largest major pumping chamber of the heart by creating a bridge to bypass and conduct over a scarred area of a damaged heart,” said Dr. Mehdi Razavi, a cardiologist and director of Electrophysiology Clinical Research and Innovations at THI, who co-led the study with Rice chemical and biomolecular engineer Matteo Pasquali.

“Today there is no technology that treats the underlying cause of the No. 1 cause of sudden death, ventricular arrhythmias,” Razavi said. “These arrhythmias are caused by the disorganized firing of impulses from the heart’s lower chambers and are challenging to treat in patients after a heart attack or with scarred heart tissue due to such other conditions as congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy.”

Results of the studies on preclinical models appear as an open-access Editor’s Pick in the American Heart Association’s Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. The association helped fund the research with a 2015 grant.

The research springs from the pioneering 2013 invention by Pasquali’s lab of a method to make conductive fibers out of carbon nanotubes. The lab’s first threadlike fibers were a quarter of the width of a human hair, but contained tens of millions of microscopic nanotubes. The fibers are also being studied for electrical interfaces with the brain, for use in cochlear implants, as flexible antennas and for automotive and aerospace applications.

The experiments showed the nontoxic, polymer-coated fibers, with their ends stripped to serve as electrodes, were effective in restoring function during monthlong tests in large preclinical models as well as rodents, whether the initial conduction was slowed, severed or blocked, according to the researchers. The fibers served their purpose with or without the presence of a pacemaker, they found.
(Credit: James Philpot/Texas Heart Institute)

Illustration by James Philpot/Texas Heart Institute

In the rodents, they wrote, conduction disappeared when the fibers were removed.

“The reestablishment of cardiac conduction with carbon nanotube fibers has the potential to revolutionize therapy for cardiac electrical disturbances, one of the most common causes of death in the United States,” said co-lead author Mark McCauley, who carried out many of the experiments as a postdoctoral fellow at THI. He is now an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

“Our experiments provided the first scientific support for using a synthetic material-based treatment rather than a drug to treat the leading cause of sudden death in the U.S. and many developing countries around the world,” Razavi added.

Many questions remain before the procedure can move toward human testing, Pasquali said. The researchers must establish a way to sew the fibers in place using a minimally invasive catheter, and make sure the fibers are strong and flexible enough to serve a constantly beating heart over the long term. He said they must also determine how long and wide fibers should be, precisely how much electricity they need to carry and how they would perform in the growing hearts of young patients.
Researchers at Texas Heart Institute and Rice University have confirmed that flexible, conductive fibers made of carbon nanotubes can bridge damaged tissue to deliver electrical signals and keep hearts beating despite congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy or after a heart attack. (Credit: Texas Heart Institute)

Researchers at Texas Heart Institute and Rice University have confirmed that flexible, conductive fibers made of carbon nanotubes can bridge damaged tissue to deliver electrical signals and keep hearts beating despite congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy or after a heart attack. Courtesy of the Texas Heart Institute

“Flexibility is important because the heart is continuously pulsating and moving, so anything that’s attached to the heart’s surface is going to be deformed and flexed,” said Pasquali, who has appointments at Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences.

“Good interfacial contact is also critical to pick up and deliver the electrical signal,” he said. “In the past, multiple materials had to be combined to attain both electrical conductivity and effective contacts. These fibers have both properties built in by design, which greatly simplifies device construction and lowers risks of long-term failure due to delamination of multiple layers or coatings.”

Razavi noted that while there are many effective antiarrhythmic drugs available, they are often contraindicated in patients after a heart attack. “What is really needed therapeutically is to increase conduction,” he said. “Carbon nanotube fibers have the conductive properties of metal but are flexible enough to allow us to navigate and deliver energy to a very specific area of a delicate, damaged heart.”

Rice alumna Flavia Vitale, now an assistant professor of neurology and of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania, and Stephen Yan, a graduate student at Rice, are co-lead authors of the paper.

Co-authors are Colin Young and Julia Coco of Rice; Brian Greet of THI and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center; Marco Orecchioni and Lucia Delogu of the Città della Speranza Pediatric Research Institute, Padua, Italy; Abdelmotagaly Elgalad, Mathews John, Doris Taylor and Luiz Sampaio, all of THI; and Srikanth Perike of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pasquali is the A.J. Hartsook Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, a professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemistry.

The American Heart Association, the Welch Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Institutes of Health and Louis Magne supported the research.

Read the paper at https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCEP.119.007256

This news release can also be found online at https://www.texasheart.org/news/ and https://news.rice.edu/2019/05/29/damaged-hearts-rewired-with-nanotube-fibers/

 

Source: Rice University News & Media

Carbon Nanotube AUX Cable

In this video, we demonstrate an auxiliary cable made with carbon nanotube (CNT) conductors and shielding. The cable has two CNT yarn conductors that are insulated with a nylon braid and then shielded with a CNT fiber braid. The sound quality is great and highlights the tremendous potential for CNT materials in high-end audio cables!

Chopping Carbon Nanotube Yarn with an Axe

Some time ago, we uploaded a video showing how well a sample of our carbon nanotube film was able to hold up to an impact from a blade. In this video, we take things a step further by trying to cut some of our carbon nanotube yarn with an axe!

Spoiler warning: it survives better than that piece of wood does.

Wearable Electronics: Carbon Nanotube Yarn + LEDs

This is the follow-up to our previous video, in which we demonstrated how our carbon nanotube yarn could be stitched into fabric using a conventional sewing machine. Here we are showing off the finished product: a DexMat t-shirt with blinking LEDs embedded into our lightning bolt logo!

We used an Arduino Gemma and a small battery pack (sewn into a pouch near the hem of the shirt) to create this LED effect. The electrical connections between the Arduino and the LEDs consist of 4 lengths of our high strength 130 micron carbon nanotube yarn. As Tyson demonstrates, this yarn can easily bend and fold with the shirt, and the zig-zag stitch allows it to stretch as well. It’s also extremely light and comfortable!

Check out the first part of this project here.

DexMat Carbon Nanotube Yarn + Sewing Machine

Here we show the first part of the process of making a simple wearable electronic display in a t-shirt using our carbon nanotube yarn. We use a standard sewing machine to stitch several long filaments of our yarn into the shirt; we plan to eventually connect these to a battery, an Arduino, and some LEDs.

The CNT yarn is strong enough and flexible enough to be run through the sewing machine without being damaged, but it is somewhat less flexible, and much less stretchable, than cotton yarn; as a result we did have some trouble, as you can see in this video. In the end, the carbon nanotube yarn worked well when it was fed from the bottom bobbin. It worked well when fed from the top bobbin and stitched into thick fabric, but not so well with the more elastic t-shirt fabric.

Complications aside, this video demonstrates the potential of our carbon nanotube fibers and yarns for use in e-textiles. It is possible that with more time and knowledge we may have been able to troubleshoot the problem…if you are a wearable electronics maker, why not get some of our yarn and see if you are able to make it work? 🙂

Update: check out our video of the completed shirt here!

Carbon Nanotube Yoyo

We are still working on the sewing machine video that we promised last week, but in the meantime, we wanted to put together a fun demonstration of the flexibility of our carbon nanotube yarn. Here we have replaced the cotton string on a yoyo with a length of our carbon nanotube yarn. The yarn is flexible enough for the yoyo to work perfectly, and as you can see it is strong enough for Dmitri to perform a few tricks.

High strength 130 micron CNT yarn spotlight

In this video we focus on one of our newly available products, a higher strength version of our 130 micron diameter carbon nanotube yarn.