Nanotubes vs nanofibres

A comment last month about how “fullerenes don’t yet appear to provide any solutions (to global issues) at remotely economic rates” drew a few comments, the main one being related to the use of carbon nanotubes in battery electrodes.

Without splitting hairs, it all comes down to where you draw the line between nanotech and other tech. In fact most of the carbon materials used in battery electrodes are carbon nanofibre, some one hundred times thicker than a carbon nanotube and exhibiting considerably less of the elegant perfection that made nanotubes so exciting. Of course the distinction between nanotubes and nanofibres is somewhat porous, yet another of the gaping holes in nanotech standards still waiting to be satisfactorily plugged.

Despite not being strictly ‘nano’ it’s still a great business, with Japans’s Showa Denko recently announcing increased production from 40 tons/year at present to 100 tons/year,

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