Carbon is a key ingredient in the emerging field of nanotechnology. Aside from the naturally occurring forms of carbon – graphite and diamond – carbon is also found in the nanostructured forms of fullerenes (or buckyballs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The atomic structure of a carbon nanotube is like a sheet of graphite rolled up into a tube. Depending on the direction of hexagons, nanotubes can be classified as either zigzag, armchair or chiral; different types of nanotubes have different properties. The diameter of a real carbon nanotube is just a few nanometers, but in this activity, a macro-scale model of a carbon nanotube is built out of balloons. The atomic structure of a carbon nanotube is discussed in relation to its properties, and members of the audience are invited to participate in building the model.
- 2 bags of Qualatex 350 balloons (large, 3.5cm diameter) or Qualatex 260 (small, 2.6cm diameter) in Onyx Black, 100 ct.
- Balloon pump or source of compressed air
- 1/2″ male/male joint, plastic or copper
- 2 screws
- 2 wingnuts, to fit on screws
- Phillips head screwdriver
- 100 feet climbing/poly rope
- 20 feet medium thickness rope (we use 3/8″ diameter nylon rope)
- Duct tape
- Fishing line