Carbon Nanotubes : What Are They?

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Carbon Nanotubes, What Are They?
The growth of carbon nanotubes is an intricate process that has many challenges. It is important to understand what carbon nanotubes are, there history, what their potential applications are and how they will be able to accomplish these task. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are one of a multitude of tiny materials that will help to define the future.
Carbon nanotubes have an unparalleled history. The first publication about these was written in 1952 by Raduskevich and Lukyanovich (Ren 8). These two Russian scientists provided the scientific community with the first distinct image of carbon nanotubes. Radushkevich and Lukyanovich 's publication had unobscured images showing multi-walled carbon nanotubes with a 50 nm
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These tubes that they found have likely been around since the time of Thomas Edison and were created as he was experimenting with carbon filaments for light bulb, which would eventually be his defining discovery, or even earlier on during the metal forging process. The reason CNTs would go unnoticed is do to their microscopic size (Ren . Their diameter can range between 1 and 50nm and with lengths that can out measure their diameter by 1000 times (Nanocyl). A nanometer is 10-9 meters or .000000001m. Even with the best optical microscopes, which magnify light rays reflected from objects, it wouldn’t have been possible to discern the fact that these cylindrical structures were hollow, if they could even see them.
Carbon nanotubes get all of their impressive properties from their physical structure. They are hexagons of covalently bonded carbon atoms. A covalent bond is a bond between two non-metals atoms. Two of these atoms are bonded to four others and form another hexagon and these other hexagons exist on all the sides of the first and off of each other. This would look like a sheet of hexagons that could then be "wrapped" into tubes. These tubes can be single walled (SWCNTs), and multi-walled (MWCNTs) depending on the number of layers they have. The carbon atoms in these nanotubes have S2P2 chemical bonds (Zhang 7). This means that the atoms have one
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