CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology has adapted technologies used to spin wool and other fibres to produce yarns made solely from carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
Synthetically-made CNTs have unique physical properties, like the ability to conduct electricity and heat.
Potential uses of the new material could be the creation of vests and “soft” body armour protecting from bullets and other small ballistic missiles. And as electronic sensors and actuators can be incorporated into CNT yarn, new garments could be produced to act as electrically-driven “muscles”.
CNT yarns could also be used in electronic textiles and electron emitters for ultra high-intensity fluorescent lamps.
“We believe CNTs, either as pure yarns or composites, will revolutionise engineered fabrics due to their excellent strength and toughness and their high electrical and thermal conductivities,” says CTFT’s research team leader, Ken Atkinson.