Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Hope For The Space Elevator? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: The Space Elevator Reference and

Several months ago, some scientists determined that building the Space Elevator with current technology was impossible.

Now it appears that a couple of MIT scientists have discovered a way to not only allow engineers to create a mesh of carbon nanotubes but make them electrically conductive as well.

( Now Young-Su Lee, an MIT graduate student in materials science and engineering, and Nicola Marzari, an associate professor in the same department, have identified a class of chemical molecules that preserve the metallic properties of carbon nanotubes and their near-perfect ability to conduct electricity with little resistance. [...]

Attaching a molecule to the sidewall of the tube serves a double purpose: It stops nanotubes from sticking so they can be processed and manipulated more easily, and it allows researchers to control and change the tubes' electronic properties.

MIT researchers have discovered that certain molecules can attach themselves to metallic carbon nanotubes without interfering with the nanotubes' exceptional ability to conduct electricity. At left, the high conductance state has two molecular orbitals, shown in green. Some molecules even let the nanotube switch between highly conductive, left, and poorly conductive (right, with one red molecular orbital), creating the potential for new applications.


MIT scientists seem to have discovered a way to make nanotubes "electrically conductive," which may be useful as a means of transferring power to the lifter robots. This new discovery could also be used to combine individual nanotube threads together, instead of the 100,000 km length molecules that some scientists image will have to be built.

Either way, this is good news for the Liftport team. Now how about building that Space Elevator already?

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1 comment:

  1. Now how about building that Space Elevator already?

    Interesting idea - it's possible to be too early to this party as well as too late.

    Professor X demonstrates he has the CNT composite we need, and can produce hundreds of kilomaters of a week. We're still not ready to build a space elevator - we don't have the other bits that we need.

    Piddly stuff like knowing it would actually work, a lifter, and so forth.

    But ya = I'd like to build it next year as well.


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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