Carbon Nanotubes and Buckyballs


Carbon Nanotubes and Buckyballs

Carbon is all around us and in us. It is in DNA, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and it makes up approximately 20% of the human body. It is a key ingredient in the fossil fuels used to power our cities and vehicles. Carbon can form the hardest natural material known on earth, diamond, and it can also form one of the softest materials, graphite. The properties of each material change as the arrangement of atoms changes. In the field of nanotechnology, carbon atoms can form tiny tubes (nanotubes) or hollow balls (fullerenes or bucky balls). Nanotubes are twice as strong as steel but weigh six times less!  Nanotubes and buckyballs have a wide variety of applications including flat panel display screens, hydrogen storage, artificial muscles, chemical sensors, and even drug delivery.

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