Nanotubes for tougher cell phones

16 Oct 2008

A team of university researchers has developed a solution to help your phone's innards take more punishment: tiny, shock-absorbing carbon springs.

Researchers at Clemson University and the University of California at San Diego have shown that layers of so-called 'coiled carbon nanotubes', each a thousand times smaller than a human hair, can act as resilient shock absorbers for fragile components inside a handset.

Coiled carbon nanotubes aren't a new idea, but the challenge has been producing enough nanotubes at a reasonable cost to make it commercially practical. Research team leader Apparao Rao says their technique of growing beds of nanotubes in a single step using a proprietary hydrocarbon-catalyst mixture changes that.

'After formation, the coiled nanotubes can be peeled off in one piece and placed on other surfaces to form instant cushioning coatings,' he says.

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