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Buckypaper is a thin sheet made from an aggregate of carbon nanotubes. Originally, it was fabricated as a way to handle carbon nanotubes, but it is currently being studied and developed into applications by several research groups, showing promise as a building material for aerospace vehicles, body armor and next-generation electronics and displays.


Buckypaper is a macroscopic aggregate of carbon nanotubes, or "buckytubes". It owes its name to buckminsterfullerene, the 60 carbon fullerene (an allotrope of carbon with similar bonding that is sometimes referred to as a "Buckyball" in honor of R. Buckminster Fuller). Richard Smalley, Sir Harold Kroto, and Robert Curl shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of buckminsterfullerene. Their discoveries and subsequent work with carbon nanotubes led to a revolution in the fields of chemistry and materials science.


Among the possible uses for buckypaper that are being researched:

  • If exposed to an electric charge, buckypaper could be used to illuminate computer and television screens. It could be more energy-efficient, lighter, and could allow for a more uniform level of brightness than current cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) technology.
  • Since carbon nanotubes are one of the most thermally conductive materials known, buckypaper lends itself to the development of heat sinks that would allow computers and other electronic equipment to disperse heat more efficiently than is currently possible. This, in turn, could lead to even greater advances in electronic miniaturization.
  • Because carbon nanotubes have an unusually high current-carrying capacity, a buckypaper film could be applied to the exteriors of airplanes. Lightning strikes then could flow around the plane and dissipate without causing damage.
  • Films also could protect electronic circuits and devices within airplanes from electromagnetic interference, which can damage equipment and alter settings. Similarly, such films could allow military aircraft to shield their electromagnetic "signatures", which can be detected via radar.
  • Buckypaper could act as a filter membrane to trap microparticles in air or fluid. Because the nanotubes in buckypaper are insoluble and can be functionalized with a variety of functional groups, they can selectively remove compounds or can act as a sensor.
  • Produced in high enough quantities and at an economically viable price, buckypaper composites could serve as an effective armor plating.
  • Buckypaper can be used to grow biological tissue, such as nerve cells. Buckypaper can be electrified or functionalized to encourage growth of specific types of cells.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Buckypaper". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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