Science geek + yarn geek = win!

I had the coolest yarn + science experience yesterday.

Dr. Ray Baughman of the NanoTech Institute saw my silk presentation at the Dallas Asian Festival in June, and invited me to come and deliver a seminar for their students. They asked a lot of very interesting and insightful questions – some of which I knew the answers to. I’ve never been quizzed on the finer points of silk-related physics and chemistry by a room full of PhD’s.

Then, the coolness began. We went down to the wet lab, and they started showing me how they grow carbon nanotube “forests” on silicone plates (in a special oven at 700’C – about 1300’F) and use them to spin yarn. Tough, tiny yarn, made out of what amounts to fantastically organized soot. (see their article in the journal Science) The yarn is amazing stuff. I’m only beginning to get a grip on the things they’re thinking.

And, then, coolest of all – a long meeting with the research leaders, and we’re talking about the possiblities of silk/nanotube yarns and woven fabrics, and I’m going to go to the lab and work with them on some of my days off. I’m going to be a collaborator in their research. Pinch me.

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  1. admin
    admin says:

    They haven’t mentioned that; I don’t know if that’s being done here or not. They’re still at the point of considering how to create yarns appropriate for textile structures, from what I have seen so far.

  2. admin
    admin says:

    They haven’t mentioned that; I don’t know if that’s being done here or not. They’re still at the point of considering how to create yarns appropriate for textile structures, from what I have seen so far.

  3. carbon_scoring
    carbon_scoring says:

    I always wondered how involved with silk you were from a biomaterials research standpoint (I do drug delivery research using silk as our platform material). Neatness 🙂

  4. carbon_scoring
    carbon_scoring says:

    I always wondered how involved with silk you were from a biomaterials research standpoint (I do drug delivery research using silk as our platform material). Neatness 🙂

  5. admin
    admin says:

    Well, until now, not at all! I’m very intrigued with the possibilities, though!

    Silk as your platform material – how are you using it? Like impregnated patches? I’d love to read more about this – I’m always looking for cool done-with-silk stuff.

  6. admin
    admin says:

    Well, until now, not at all! I’m very intrigued with the possibilities, though!

    Silk as your platform material – how are you using it? Like impregnated patches? I’d love to read more about this – I’m always looking for cool done-with-silk stuff.

  7. mothie
    mothie says:

    Oh Michael,

    That is so kewl! Keep us all posted!

    My son went to Mudd, a geek college where they do stuff like this, carbon tubes and all that. I love hearing about all that super-geek stuff. 8-]

    Ellen

  8. mothie
    mothie says:

    Oh Michael,

    That is so kewl! Keep us all posted!

    My son went to Mudd, a geek college where they do stuff like this, carbon tubes and all that. I love hearing about all that super-geek stuff. 8-]

    Ellen

  9. epinoid
    epinoid says:

    very very cool

    I also like the fact that the researchers are interested in collaborating far outside their expertise. Nifty!!!

    (OK geeky material scientist has to point out that nanotubes are much more akin to rolled up sheets of graphite than to soot – yes it is carbon but soot is amorphous as far as I hav learned and has a very different bonding structure)

  10. epinoid
    epinoid says:

    very very cool

    I also like the fact that the researchers are interested in collaborating far outside their expertise. Nifty!!!

    (OK geeky material scientist has to point out that nanotubes are much more akin to rolled up sheets of graphite than to soot – yes it is carbon but soot is amorphous as far as I hav learned and has a very different bonding structure)

  11. admin
    admin says:

    Yeah – that’s one of the many possible applications they’re thinking of. The nano-yarn brings strength and electroconductivity, the silk brings bio-compatibility and cohesion.

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