Nanotubes could link elevator to space

The future of the space elevator could hinge on super-strong nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are six times stronger than steel and can conduct 1,000 times more electrical current than copper wire.

“Nanotubes are considered to be the most promising material for making a space elevator,” Baughman said.

Baughman, Zhang and Shaoli Fang were chosen to the 2006 Scientific American Top 50 list for their work producing sheets of car “However, assembly of these nanotubes to form a 22,000 mile cable seems to be another big challenge,” Baughman said.

Baughman said researchers can make nanotube sheets at 30 meters per minute. He added 1 pound of nanotube sheets would need over 1 billion miles of nanotubes.

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