3 mins

What’s the latest on carbon nanotube safety?

Single walled carbon nanotubes

Just a few years ago, carbon nanotubes were front and center of discussions around the safety of engineered nanomaterials.  These days, not so much. So what happened?  Did we do the science and discover that they’re just as safe as any other form of carbon? Or did they simply slip off the safety radar? In ...

Are you breathing carbon nanotubes, and should you be worried?

Are you breathing carbon nanotubes and should you be worried

For over two decades, carbon nanotubes have been attracting attention.  First, they were seen as a super-strong, super-conductive new form of carbon that could potentially revolutionize everything from space travel to drug delivery.  Later, concerns were raised that these long, thin, fiber-like materials might cause or exacerbate lung diseases if inhaled. Now, a new study ...

2 mins

Nanotubes create the blackest black – Douglas Adams would be proud

If your nanotechnology stream is anything like mine today, it will have been swamped by accounts like this one of “Vantablack” fabric – supposedly the world-s blackest-ever material! The material relies on a carbon nanotube forest that absorbs 99.965% of visible light that lands on it.  Putting aside the questions of safety, and how likely those ...

7 mins

Realizing dreams of carbon nanotubes

A guest blog by John Dorr, Vice President of Business Development Nanocomp Technologies Inc. Despite all the fuss over nanotechnology, it’s surprisingly difficult to get a clear sense of how the technology is contributing to new products.  So when the company Nanocomp Technologies Inc. approached me with an idea of writing a guest blog about ...

Ten emerging technology trends to watch over the next decade

Ten years ago at the close of the 20th century, people the world over were obsessing about the millennium bug – an unanticipated glitch arising from an earlier technology.  I wonder how clear it was then that, despite this storm in what turned out to be a rather small teacup, the following decade would see ...

4 mins

Building better batteries, the Chinese way

Reading yesterday’s New York Times, it seems China could well be poised to leapfrog the West in advanced battery technology (China Vies to Be World’s Leader in Electric Cars). According to the article, Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles ...

4 mins

New carbon nanotube study raises the health impact stakes

I’m looking at an electron microscope image of a carbon nanotube – as I cannot show it here, you’ll have to imagine it.  It shows a long, straight, multi-walled carbon nanotube, around 100 nanometers wide and 10 micrometers long.  There is nothing particularly unusual about this.  What is unusual is that the image also shows ...

6 mins

Working safely with carbon nanotubes

So you want to make or use carbon nanotubes, but you are worried about handling then safely.  What do you do?  The good news is that the UK Health and Safety Executive has just published an information sheet that addresses just this question.  Risk management of carbon nanotubes is (according to the blurb) “specifically about ...

9 mins

Asbestos-like nanomaterials – should we be concerned?

I’m afraid the “A” word just won’t go away.  It seems that every time people start thinking about the possible health effects of long, thin, fibrous nanomaterials, the question pops up “is this the next asbestos?”  You’d have thought that the issue would have been resolved by now—after all, nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes have been ...

3 mins

A red-letter day for science and technology

As Barack Obama takes the oath and is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, many are anticipating a new era of socially relevant science and technology.  Having run one of the most technologically savvy campaigns in recent times—possibly ever—Obama’s transition teams continued to break new ground in using technology up open up ...

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