Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spinning the unspinnable: Superconducting, energy storing and catalytic yarns based on ancient types of spirals

Date:
January 10, 2011
Source:
University of Texas at Dallas
Summary:
Researchers found that by twisting nanotube sheets into various spirals, they absorb greater concentrations of embedded materials, while preserving the flexibility and strength of nanotube fibers.

Nanotechnologists at The University of Texas at Dallas have invented a broadly deployable technology for producing weavable, knittable, sewable, and knottable yarns containing up to 95 weight percent of otherwise unspinnable guest powders and nanofibers. A minute amount of host carbon nanotube web, which can be lighter than air and stronger pound-per-pound than steel, confines guest particulates in the corridors of highly conducting scrolls without interfering with guest functionality for such applications as energy storage, energy conversion, and energy harvesting.

Using conventional technology, powders are either held together in a yarn using a polymer binder or incorporated on fiber surfaces, and both approaches can restrict powder concentration, powder accessibility for providing yarn functionality, or the strength needed for yarn processing into textiles and subsequent applications.

In the Jan. 7 issue of the journal Science, coauthors working in the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute of UT Dallas describe the use of biscrolling to solve these problems, and demonstrate the feasibility of using their biscrolled yarns for applications ranging from superconducting cables and electronic textiles to batteries and fuel cells containing flexible woven electrodes.

Biscrolled yarns get their name from the way they are produced: a uniform layer of guest material is deposited on top of a web of carbon nanotubes, which is called the host. This bilayer guest/host stack is then twisted to form a biscrolled yarn. Depending upon end constraints and the symmetry of applied stresses, twist insertion results in distorted versions of either Archimedean, dual Archimedean, or Fermat scrolls, which are three-dimensional extensions of the Archimedean and Fermat spirals and spiral combinations found in nature and revered by diverse cultures for thousands of years.

The carbon nanotube webs that the inventors used for biscrolling are not ordinary carbon nanotube sheets -- they can be drawn at up to two yards/second from forests of carbon nanotubes, which look like bamboo forests in which two-inch diameter bamboo trees rise a mile into the sky. Four ounces of these sheets would cover an acre and they are about 50 nm thick when densified, which is about a thousand times thinner than a human hair or a sheet of ordinary paper.

These strong carbon nanotube webs hold together biscrolled yarns that are mostly powders and even enable machine washing of textiles containing biscrolled yarns without significant powder loss. Web thinness means that hundreds of scroll layers can be accommodated in a biscrolled yarn having about the diameter of a human hair. At the same time, the nanotube web provides electrical conductivity to the yarn, and the porosity needed for access of the particles trapped in webs corridors to liquids and gasses for electrochemical and sensor applications.

The choice of guest determines the functionality of biscrolled yarns. Using as guest up to 95 weight percent LiFePO4, a remarkable material for lithium-ion batteries, high performance lithium ion battery electrodes were demonstrated by UT Dallas researchers, and shown to have the battery performance, flexibility and mechanical robustness needed for incorporation in energy storing and energy generating clothing. Biscrolling nitrogen-doped carbon nanotube guest provided highly catalytic fuel cell cathodes for chemical generation of electrical energy, which avoid the need for expensive platinum catalyst. By biscrolling a mixture of magnesium and boron powders and thermal treatment, superconducting MgB2 yarns were produced, which eliminated the thirty or more draw steps used for conventional production of superconducting wires. Using photocatalytic titanium dioxide guest, biscrolled yarns for self-cleaning fabrics were obtained.

"UT Dallas's biscrolling technology is rich in application possibilities that go far beyond those we described in Science magazine. For instance, our collaborator Professor Seon Jeong Kim of Hanyang University in Korea has already used biscrolled yarn to make improved biofuel cells that might eventually be used to power medical implants," said the article's corresponding author, Dr. Ray H. Baughman, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the UTD's NanoTech Institute. "I am especially proud of two of our former NanoExplorer high school students, Carter Haines and Stephanie Stoughton, who are undergraduate coauthors of both our article in Science magazine and our internationally filed patent application on biscrolling."

Other coauthors of this article are postdoctoral fellows Dr. Márcio Lima, who is lead author, Dr. Elizabeth Castillo-Martínez, Dr. Javier Carretero-Gonzáles, Dr. Raquel Ovalle-Robles, and Dr. Jiyoung Oh; graduate students Xavier Lepró, Mohammad Haque, Neema Rawat, and Vaishnavi Aare; laboratory associate Chihye Lewis; research professors Dr. Shaoli Fang and Dr. Mikhail Kozlov; and Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, professor of physics and associate director of the NanoTech Institute.

Funding for this research was provided by grants from the Air Force, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Dallas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Márcio D. Lima, Shaoli Fang, Xavier Lepró, Chihye Lewis, Raquel Ovalle-Robles, Javier Carretero-González, Elizabeth Castillo-Martínez, Mikhail E. Kozlov, Jiyoung Oh, Neema Rawat, Carter S. Haines, Mohammad H. Haque, Vaishnavi Aare, Stephanie Stoughton, Anvar A. Zakhidov, and Ray H. Baughman. Biscrolling Nanotube Sheets and Functional Guests into Yarns. Science, 2011; 331 (6013): 51-55 DOI: 10.1126/science.1195912

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Dallas. "Spinning the unspinnable: Superconducting, energy storing and catalytic yarns based on ancient types of spirals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106144521.htm>.
University of Texas at Dallas. (2011, January 10). Spinning the unspinnable: Superconducting, energy storing and catalytic yarns based on ancient types of spirals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106144521.htm
University of Texas at Dallas. "Spinning the unspinnable: Superconducting, energy storing and catalytic yarns based on ancient types of spirals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106144521.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins