Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Science

Honda Makes Nanotube Breakthrough 88

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the better-faster-stronger dept.
SkinnyGuy writes "Carbon nanofibers and nanotubes are the future of computers, cars, energy and more, but it won't happen until someone figures out how to make carbon nanotubes more efficiently and in formations that can deliver enough energy and functionality to offer practical solutions for real-world problems. Honda's latest breakthrough could be the first step. Of course, Intel is working on similar carbon nanotube fabrication technology. Whoever finally delivers a practical solution, it sounds like a win-win for us."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Honda Makes Nanotube Breakthrough

Comments Filter:
  • Seems Wasteful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BigSes (1623417)
    Use only as a pure conductive option? There should be so many more intelligent applications that could be used.
    • Re:Seems Wasteful (Score:5, Interesting)

      by John Hasler (414242) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:39PM (#29622025) Homepage

      You consider cheaper, more efficient power transmission, smaller, cheaper, more efficient motors, lighter, cheaper cars, etc. "unintelligent"? Ok, how about more efficient antennas for your cellphones leading to longer battery life? Surely you would consider that a Nobel-grade breakthrough!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That thought process works to dim the interest of the story, don't you think? Implementation into all of the technology you mentioned would take years. Hence, I'm more excited to hear that they have actually achieved a level of stability with the product, but simply for conductivity seems anti-climactic. I suppose I'm more interested and impressed with Intel's intentions.

        Oh, yeah, and let us not forget...lighter and cheaper cars? RECENTLY the cost of a hybrid or electric car is becoming reasonable enough

        • by BigSes (1623417)
          That was a reply by me, BigSes, the original comment poster. I didn't realize I had been timed-out while I was away.
      • by Rei (128717) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @04:49AM (#29624979) Homepage

        What I find funny about all this is that Honda, the biggest, most anti-electric-vehicle automaker out there, may just have given electric vehicles the best gift they could have asked for. Not in terms of batteries, but in terms of nanotube-composite charging cables. Optimal metallic nanotubes have a resistivity a tiny fraction that of copper; they're practically room temperature superconductors, in terms of resistance. And it's directional, too -- the current flows readily down the length of the tubes, but poorly from side to side. I've seen varying numbers, and I think it depends on the types of tubes and their application, but this [electrical...ronics.org] article says that CNTs on microchips can carry 1,000 times the current density of copper and silver. Now, you won't get that extreme level in a composite, but those are still amazing numbers to have as a starting point.

        In short, they're perfect for the ideal super-high-power charging cable. Far thinner, lighter, and less cooling needed for a given power output. You could probably have a cable off that monster 800kW charger Aerovironment made for TARDEC be light enough for a six year old to handle.

        Obviously, the ultra-high-power chargers still need the typical battery buffer so that they don't strain the grid, but if metallic CNT cables hit the market, there will be some serious current flowing with a much lower charger size and cost. :)

        • by beckett (27524)
          how is Honda a worse anti-electric vehicle than say, GM, who killed a production electric car? not arguing, i'm curious.
          • by Rei (128717)

            That was years ago. Both are under different management now. GM is now resurrecting the electric car (at least, plug-in hybrids) and is making a huge push for EVs and EV infrastructure. Honda is taking every opportunity they can to dis EVs in every way imagineable in the press. They're big hydrogen backers. Due to a lack of progress on hydrogen, they finally (after years of refusing to) introduced plans to make an electric vehicle -- but not until 2015 (way behind pretty much everyone else but Audi).

            • by Ogive17 (691899)
              It'll probably be 2015 before a decent EV car comes out anyway. Battery technology still isn't there.
      • If they make motors out of this stuff, only 91% of them will work ... (Yes, I know thats a crock full of s@#$, but still ;-) )
    • Re:Seems Wasteful (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:01PM (#29622165) Journal

      Nanotubes can theoretically carry a current of 1 billion Amps/cm^2 which is over a thousand times the current at which Copper gets fried. THey are also lighter and far stronger than any other conductor we have tested. Upwards of 200x as strong as medium grade steel and 4x less dense. Not even superconductors can carry the amount of power we are talking about here as the magnetic fields created by such a current destroy the superconductivity of all known examples of superconductors well before this amount of current is reached.

      • by adolf (21054)

        blah.

        Wake me up when I can head down to the market and buy a widget made with nanotubes. Because until then, it's all smoke, mirrors, grants, and lab reports.

        • You do realise, that the transistor was all smoke, mirrors, grants and lab reports until someone managed to actually make one, right?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Jeremi (14640)

          Wake me up when I can head down to the market and buy a widget made with nanotubes.

          This is Slashdot ("news for nerds"). The site you seem to be looking for is Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org]. Everything discussed on that site is available for sale now, and they won't bother you with any of that horrible "science stuff".

          • by adolf (21054)

            I know very well where I am, #14640. I've been reading articles about nanotubes on Slashdot for as long as there has been a Slashdot.

            It's simply been long enough that such articles are positively boring. It's like reading about Duke Nukem Forever.

            • by Jeremi (14640)

              I know very well where I am, #14640. I've been reading articles about nanotubes on Slashdot for as long as there has been a Slashdot.

              Cool... then you are probably aware of Slashdot's ability to let you skip articles you aren't interested in.

              • by adolf (21054)

                But then I'd miss the grandness of the announcement that nanotubes have, you know, become useful.

      • Not even superconductors can carry the amount of power we are talking about here as the magnetic fields created by such a current destroy the superconductivity of all known examples of superconductors well before this amount of current is reached.

        Are they more resistive but with a much greater ability to take the heat? How hot and resistive is this super-charged nanotube cable?

  • win-win (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:27PM (#29621957) Homepage Journal
    Unless whoever gets it put a big fat expensive patent around it.
    • Re:win-win (Score:5, Funny)

      by karnal (22275) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:46PM (#29622075)

      It's not fat, it's just big boned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by plague911 (1292006)
      This is why the Chinese are helpful to the technological world. If Intel or Honda makes a breakthrough and gets a patant. The Chinese will just copy is and sell it for dirt cheap. So the choice for consumers becomes Cheap and shady or Expensive and "clean" If Intel or Honda charge too much for their patent than cheap and shady will win. Its a ballance of powers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        What do you mean shady? Patents are something that shouldn't exist in the first place! There is nothing shady about ignoring them, especially if it's legal in the country of residence.

        People should realise that invention is not A to B, but it is a feedback loop! If you make it hard to go from B to C, it's pointless!
        • by Jeremi (14640)

          Patents are something that shouldn't exist in the first place!

          Without patents, there is a huge incentive to keep all commercializable discoveries and inventions secret, because that's the only way to prevent your competition from selling the product you invented more cheaply than you can (after all, you have to repay all the debts you incurred while inventing/perfecting your invention, and your competitors don't... all they have to do is obtain one unit and then duplicate it).

          With patents, you are granted

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            Without patents, there is a huge incentive to keep all commercializable discoveries and inventions secret,

            It doesn't work that way. The only way to keep it secret is to not sell it; as soon as you sell something, it can be first copied and later reverse-engineered and duplicated. These are the distribution-related problems patents were allegedly created to solve.

            In my opinion that's a better result than having the invention remain secret forever.... YMMV.

            You are committing the logical fallacy of false dichotomy. Given a choice between making some profit by selling an unpatented product, and no profit by not selling an unpatented product, the choice is fairly clear. Any product not produced because there

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by lokiomega (596833)

              Given a choice between making some profit by selling an unpatented product, and no profit by not selling an unpatented product, the choice is fairly clear.

              Or more likely, losing money from R&D funds not being recouped from insufficient sales. Patents are a good idea by creating an incentive to innovate. It's the abuse of the patent system that's stalling creativity, not the system itself.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by navyjeff (900138)

        This is why the Chinese are helpful to the technological world. If Intel or Honda makes a breakthrough and gets a patant. The Chinese will just copy is and sell it for dirt cheap. So the choice for consumers becomes Cheap and shady or Expensive and "clean" If Intel or Honda charge too much for their patent than cheap and shady will win. Its a ballance of powers.

        If a Chinese product infringes on an American patent, importing the product becomes illegal. So then they can sell it to India or Malaysia or whoever doesn't have that patent registered in their system. I don't really find that helpful.

        Patents in the US only last about 20 years, but it's usually more expedient and profitable to license such a patent.

        • Its illegal to ship baby toys with lead covered paint in from China. That dosent mean it wont happen. This is particularly true for any kind of materials patent. It hard for a guy at customs to realize that a patent has been violated by a manufacturing process of a material used in a product. PS the technology life curve is much shorter than 20 years for many modern technologies. Thus a 20 year patent kills competition within the useful lifetime of many technologies. If you are given a patent by the gover
    • by jeffstar (134407)

      people who own patents have to license them on fair, reasonable and non discriminatory terms. They can't prevent other people from licensing it by charging more than it is worth.

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      Nonsense. They'll sell and sell and sell. And profit and profit and profit.

      Patents are only for a limited amount of time. The only way to exploit the patent (unless its a defensive patent) is to market it. You market it at the highest price the market will bear and then you reap the profits.

      When the patent lapses, then the prices really drop.

      Tech like this really is a win win.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Unless whoever gets it put a big fat expensive patent around it.

      Of course they will. Which will make it more expensive for 20 years, but if the benefits are that great, it'll still be used. Worst case scenario is multiple companies get patents on different parts of the process and can't come to terms; then you have patent deadlock where no one can produce the product.

    • A patent can only protect you for so long in industry before someone comes up with some alternative idea that makes yours irrelevant except on purely 'intellectual' value. Researchers are constantly searching for multiple methods of finding some sort of technological solution; for example, there are multiple ways that people are investigating implementing nanoscale semiconductor particles (rods or dots) to enhance quantum efficiency in solid state organic photovoltaics, even though there are other methods t

  • ... and a win-win-win for whoever develops it first ... given the fact that whoever comes up with a practical solution first will probably patent it, i wonder if the general public's gain is in this situation is factoring in corporate greed ... i would MAYBE call this a "win-win" situation in 50 years or so!
    • by PIBM (588930)
      The sooner it happens, the sooner the patent expires ?
    • I hate to have to tell you this, but there were patents 50 years ago.

    • You would rather they didn't do the research?

      Moron.

      • hey there mister nasty ... i didn't say i'd rather not ... i just have a different definition of "win win" ... :: insert nasty name here ::
        • hey there mister nasty ... i didn't say i'd rather not ... i just have a different definition of "win win" ... :: insert nasty name here ::

          That's true.

          win verb, won, winâ...ning, noun

          1. to finish first in a race, contest, or the like.

          2. to succeed by striving or effort: He applied for a scholarship and won.

          3. to use the power of hope that new technologies magically materialize after incentives to spend ridiculous amounts of money to R&D that product have been eradicated in order to save the general public from paying a fair licensing fee.

          • thanks i think ... but again i was aiming for something a little different. you got about 20% points for effort though :P my HOPE is that someday we won't have to wait on patent regulations for ideas to become publicly accessible and usable so that innovation can continue unhindered. i don't know the future, maybe that is in store for nano-whatever already ... however, based on many events in the past i kind of doubt it and so that is where my hopes lie. it's not about technology magically materializing. d
            • my HOPE is that someday we won't have to wait on patent regulations for ideas to become publicly accessible and usable so that innovation can continue unhindered.

              If you really want to see innovation unhindered, patents should be protected, to the fullest extent of the law. Very few innovations come about because (or at least mainly because) the innovator wants to make the world a better place for future generations. Most innovations come about because someone (either an individual, a government, or a cor

  • by cheesybagel (670288) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:44PM (#29622063)
    Useful for everything, used in nothing.
    • Re:Nanotubes... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:56PM (#29622133) Journal

      First of all that isn't quite true. Nanotubes are now used as the tips of some STMs, bucky paper composites, single nanotube transistors and a few others. THe major hurdle to the widespread use of nanotubes is solely due to their high cost. They are about ~1000$/gram the last time I checked so really they'd need to be pretty special to justify that kind of cost.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        It wasn't quite true, but it was quite funny.
        Which do you think the poster was going for, truth or funny?

      • Re:Nanotubes... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dhovis (303725) * on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:17PM (#29622259)

        If you can show me a shipping product with a single nanotube transistor, I'll eat my hat. STM tips are a pretty limited market. I can't find any references to commercial buckypaper composities either.

        We actually have a buckyball (C60) ion gun for use with our Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (TOF-SIMS). As far as I know, these ion guns are the only existing commercial use for buckyballs. It isn't exactly a huge market.

        Fullerenes have been around for nearly 25 years now. It they had anything more than hype, they'd be commercialized by now. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but none of the press releases I've ever read about fullerenes has lead to anything more than another press release.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by russotto (537200)

          Fullerenes have been around for nearly 25 years now. It they had anything more than hype, they'd be commercialized by now.

          You could say the same about aluminum before development of the Bayer process, or titanium prior to the Kroll process. This could be the equivalent for nanotubes.

          But, probably not...

          • by dhovis (303725) *

            Fullerenes have been around for nearly 25 years now. It they had anything more than hype, they'd be commercialized by now.

            You could say the same about aluminum before development of the Bayer process, or titanium prior to the Kroll process. This could be the equivalent for nanotubes.

            But, probably not...

            I don't dispute that at all. When/if someone develops that "Bayer"-type process for nanotubes, they'll make a billion dollars and win a Nobel prize. Until then, fullerenes remain hype.

        • I don't know, flight had been around for millions of years before anyone discovered a commercially viable approach suitable for human consumption. The idea of mechanical computation devices was around for a century before it became viable even in military applications. Cotton used to be prohibitively expensive for hundreds of years as well.

          Sometimes there is simply a nontrivial step that needs to be worked out before a technology can be exploited at a useful scale.

  • The Slashdot summary is the only place that this piece of incremental experimentation is referred to as a breakthrough. I'm getting tired of every little news stores that has anything to do with nano-(fill_in_the_blank) being labeled a breakthrough.

  • Filtering? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pitterpatter (1397479) on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:14PM (#29622235) Journal

    TFA speaks of filtering the semiconducting fibers from the conducting ones as if this might be a big deal. I would have thought that magnetic separation would be the obvious solution. Am I missing something?

    The physical behavior of a conductor moving with respect to a magnetic field is so dramatically different than that of a non-conductor that I have to believe that a semiconductor would behave differently also.

    My favorite demo of this effect is to drop a strong magnet through a section of aluminum conduit. The magnet falls normally when released next to but outside the pipe, but a strong magnet can take up to five minutes to fall through the inside. A cow magnet [wikipedia.org]in a half inch pipe is particularly effective.

  • I can see it now... A team of assembly women who all look exactly like 7 of 9. Maybe Honda isn't such a bad place to work after all!
  • A perfect solution. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B5_geek (638928) on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:48PM (#29622487)

    Lets imagine for a second a future where our 'pollution' is the base building material for the majority of products constructed.

    Carbon nanotubes/fibers could be the perfect sequestering medium/method for all the CO2 in the atmosphere. They have already shown to be such a useful product, we are continually finding new ways to make use of them. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that only iron has proven to be as diverse.

    If mass-production ever takes off I suggest we proclaim this to be the birth of the Carbon age.

    • Until someone notices that it has the same effect on the lungs as asbestos. Just some orders of magnitude stronger, because it can enter the blood and cells. :P

      (Ok, "until" as in "20 years, millions of deaths and billions of dollars for officials later".)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dbIII (701233)
        That's is a well known problem with small fibres which people have been keeping in mind with this sort of research for 40 years or so.
    • Assuming we replant, isn't this the case now with products that come from trees?

  • Unobtanium. It's about damned time!

  • It seems like every news announcement out there about material science advances involves carbon nanotubes. Is there anything they can't do???

    Possible uses :
    1. As an ideal semiconductor
    2. As an ideal, super-lightweight conductor
    3. As a drug delivery device
    4. As an antibiotic
    5. As a super strong space elevator cable
    6. As the tip of an SEM
    7. In electrically conductive clothing
    8. As a super-strong super armor
    9. Part of a super capacitor
    10. Part of a super fast charging lithium ion battery
    11. Part of

  • I think I'm lost because I Googled, "Diluting the word breakthrough," and was linked directly to this article. Well, since I read the article and I'm already commenting I might as well ask: just how closer are we (in measurable terms) to cheap, easily-manufactured materials that (aside from being so green it gives captain planet a hard-on) are as versatile as they are (so very) useful that we may apply it -- not unlike one applies pixie dust -- to our computers, video games, cars, economy, hopes and dream
  • In 20 years when the patents expire, perhaps.

  • The one place where nanotubes might be of the most benefit is boosting the storage in ultracapacitors. The technology [theinquirer.net] is making advances [cleantech.com] towards the point where they might match or surpass batteries.
  • Correctly it is:

    Carbon nanofibers and nanotubes could be the future of computers, cars, energy and more,

    Because we do not know if we can actually solve the problems that stop us from preferring to use them until now.

    Simple logic. Apparently the opposite of what simple minds use. :/

    Let's go to the south pacific. I have a earthquake to provoke, and a door to open. :P

  • "Whoever finally delivers a practical solution, it sounds like a win-win for us"

    Not unless these patents expire and IP rights become public domain.... Then its a win-win

  • He reckoned I was crazy, when I said that in the nearish future city buildings will likely be constructed of man made materials produced at a molecular level, and designed to replace the predominant construction materials and be cheaper and stronger exhibit better properties etc that the norm of glass steel and concrete. Seriously this seems logical and inevitable enough to me, but it seems the man on the street doesnt get it yet.
  • OK, so there's a car wreck and there is nano-dust everywhere. How hazardous is this stuff to inhale, get on your skin, etc? Asbestosis anyone? What about cleaning it up?

    Is there a 'peer reviewed' medical consensus on the health effects yet? I mean, there's that scene where hostile nano-bots are being turned into 'dead toner' in Diamond Age, but forget hostile nano-bots... what about just plain nano-dust in your lungs?
    • Is there a 'peer reviewed' medical consensus on the health effects yet?

      No, there isn't. I wrote a mini document review on in vivo and in vitro effect of fullerenes and nanotuves, and while nanotubes do exhibit cytotoxic activity, the concentrations involved seem un-realistic, but all the experiments were very short term. In vitro experiments seem more conclusive (nanotubes == bad), but that does not necessarily imply that in real life, nanotubes would meaningfully reach the cells to the same extent as in the experiment.

      Besides, there is another problem: scientists involved wit

<<<<< EVACUATION ROUTE <<<<<

Working...