REAL LIFE NEWS: CARBON NANOTUBES MAKE STRONG ARMOR
Scientists at the University of Cambridge, England, have come up with a way to weave carbon nanotubes into a fabric that could make super-strong body armor several times stronger and tougher than the current protective armor.
Carbon nanotubes are one of those miracle new substances produced by nanotechnology research. They are made by folding over a one-atom thick layer of graphite so it joins at each end, forming a cylinder which measures just a few billionths of a metre across. The result is a very strong, very light material.
The new fabric has been developed by a group at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at Cambridge.
In body armor, the strength of the fibers in a fabric is one important factor. Another is how much strain the material can take before it breaks. Cambridge's new fibre is very strong, lightweight and good at absorbing energy in the form of fragments traveling at very high velocity. As you would expect, the UK Ministry of Defence and the US Army are interested, but it could also be used for bomb-proof refuse bins, flexible solar panels, hi-tech "smart" clothing and even as a replacement for copper wire in transmitting electrical power and signals.
To find out more about how the new fabric is produced, read this BBC News article.