When it comes to materials design, carbon nanotubes are a big area of experimentation and design. Think of them as very small pasta and, under the right conditions, can be pulled and molded into nearly any shape. Then can be woven together like thread to form fabrics. But, these fabrics are incredibly strong and lightweight. We've seen them used to lighten heavy parts of planes, boats, and more. But Canatu is using them in a new way.
One aspect of carbon nanotubes is that they can be great electrical conductors. That means that you can run power across them. But, any time you run electricity, you create heat - sometimes a small amount, sometimes a large amount. In the case of carbon nanotubes, the heat produced is slight, but useful. When combined with certain existing products, that heat can be used to make the products better.
Take, for example, the sensor in your car that determines if the roads are safe enough to use cruise control in the cold. Those sensors can freeze over themselves and produce a false reading. But, if you include the carbon nanotubes into the sensor's design, or as a covering over the top of the electronics, you can keep the sensor from icing over, protecting your driving.
Another great use is on airplanes. The leading edge of the wing can also ice over, causing unexpected behavior. Currently, planes have various ways to deal with the problem, but all of them add weight to the plane, which equates to more fuel usage per flight. But, the lightweight nature of the carbon nanotube fabrics means that, by covering the leading edge of the wing, you can keep it ice-free with minimal additional weight.
To learn more about how Canatu is using carbon nanotubes and other materials, check out their website.
Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.