The researchers are studying how carbon could replace polyester and other synthetic fibers. UC researchers believe carbon nanotubes will replace copper wire in cars and planes to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency. Carbon will filter our water and tell us more about our lives and bodies through new biometric sensors, according to the university.
For the military, this could mean replacing heavy batteries that charge the growing number of electronics that make up a soldier’s loadout: lights, night-vision and communications gear, researchers think.
“The only thing holding us back is cracking the code on making carbon nanotubes at scale,” said Benji Maruyama, who leads the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Graduate student Mark Haase, spent the past year exploring applications for carbon nanotubes at the AFRL. Through the partnership, UC students use the Air Force Lab’s sophisticated equipment to analyze samples. Haase has been using the Air Force equipment to help his classmates with their projects.
“This pushes us to work in groups and to specialize. These are the same dynamics we see in corporate research and industry,” Haase said.
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