With the team up of Lintec Group based in Tokyo (a United States subsidiary) and University of Texas located in Dallas, the nanotubes were developed. Nanotubes, when viewed using a microscope looks like tiny tubes but are actually powder particles. These particles are finer by 1,000 compared to the human hair and its strength is excels more than steel. Nanotubes are transparent and possess properties that include electrical, thermal and acoustic.
Nanotubes are combined with polymer to create products that are lighter and stronger like tennis racquets and bicycle frames. Until recent developments, it has only been used in the form of a powder.
With the help of MacDiarmid Nanotech, an institute in the University of Texas, the nanotubes were developed to form into sheets. These sheets are lightweight, transparent and strong. With this new development, previously deemed impossible products can now be manufactured.
The new raw material developed opens up a market of companies that wanted to test the waters. This could mean the invention of lighter airplanes and cars, electricity conducting films which are transparent, body armor and electronics that can be worn. These nanosheets can also be applied in the biomedical field and aid wound healing, biosensors and tissue engineering.
A nanosheet resembles the web of a spider which after being subjected to air current, floats. It can be applied one at a time or used as many in one stack. These can also be twisted, knotted and woven in order to develop stronger products such as yarn, adhesives, ribbons and fabric. Compare to a structural steel, these carbon nanotubes are proven to be stronger.
This breakthrough in the nanotechnology by the University of Texas in Dallas was applied for a U.S. patent and they were granted last month. These could be an advantage since Lintec Group has clients that deal in industries such as medical, aerospace, military, automotive, consumer products and electronics. For nine years, Japan-based top executives of the company have been funding the institute.
This development is expected to be applied in the automotive sectors within two to three years and five years for sensors used in human biomedical applications.