You Can't See the Forest for the… umm…

A couple of snapshots from yesterday’s NanoTech adventure.

The thing is… you really can’t see much. That’s true in person, too. This stuff is SO BLACK, elemental carbon black, absorbs-all-light black, that what you end up seeing looks like a hole in the photo – like someone used a “select” tool and just deleted that part.

Seeing that in person is quite strange.

Here, you can see the drafting of the film that eventually gets twisted to make the yarn. In person, it looks like smoke.

They call it a “forest” because the carbon nanotubes are oriented up and down, like trees:


They used a very fine polyester, tied into a structural warp that looks like cotton. This is about the size of my little fingernail.

0 thoughts on “You Can't See the Forest for the… umm…

  1. I haven’t actually *touched* it yet… it’s very, very fine. I’m guessing that weaving with it is a very unique experience. I’ll keep y’all updated, once I get to handle some.

  2. I haven’t actually *touched* it yet… it’s very, very fine. I’m guessing that weaving with it is a very unique experience. I’ll keep y’all updated, once I get to handle some.

  3. Yup. It looks like they’ve been painted black, or coated with soot – but it kind of pulls at the eyes a little. Like your eye is saying “This is a thing which is not right somehow – are you looking at it correctly?”

  4. Yup. It looks like they’ve been painted black, or coated with soot – but it kind of pulls at the eyes a little. Like your eye is saying “This is a thing which is not right somehow – are you looking at it correctly?”

  5. Honestly, I don’t know. Strong for its weight, but at that infinitesimal thickness (the single twisted yarn was about 3-5 micrometers) it is easy to break. I was trying to get a grip on how many grams it could hold, but all of their information is in terms of pascals and they weren’t able to give me an idea I could wrap my brain around. The impression I got, is that it’s stronger than any of the natural fibers.

  6. Honestly, I don’t know. Strong for its weight, but at that infinitesimal thickness (the single twisted yarn was about 3-5 micrometers) it is easy to break. I was trying to get a grip on how many grams it could hold, but all of their information is in terms of pascals and they weren’t able to give me an idea I could wrap my brain around. The impression I got, is that it’s stronger than any of the natural fibers.

  7. I kept thinking, “Is this really real, am I really seeing this?” I am still in awe of the natural wonders by which cocoons unwind into silk and fuzz is twisted into yarn.. but watching somebody pull yarn out of what looks like a piece of glass with soot on it, was just gobsmacking.

  8. I kept thinking, “Is this really real, am I really seeing this?” I am still in awe of the natural wonders by which cocoons unwind into silk and fuzz is twisted into yarn.. but watching somebody pull yarn out of what looks like a piece of glass with soot on it, was just gobsmacking.

  9. That is absolutely, jaw-droppingly amazing. What a great experience it must have been. I can barely imagine something so perfectly black that it registers to our tiny lizard-brains as not actually there at all.

  10. That is absolutely, jaw-droppingly amazing. What a great experience it must have been. I can barely imagine something so perfectly black that it registers to our tiny lizard-brains as not actually there at all.

  11. That black fabric is the holy grail of goths everywhere…. I *must* have it!

    I think it’s so totally cool that you are getting to see and work with this stuff.. what they are doing is fascinating!

  12. That black fabric is the holy grail of goths everywhere…. I *must* have it!

    I think it’s so totally cool that you are getting to see and work with this stuff.. what they are doing is fascinating!

  13. If the theoretical stuff ends up becoming practical reality, the fabric will be like uber-geek-wonder-garment stuff – they’re anticipating making electroconductive fabrics with built-in capacitors, and it is nearly as strong as bullet-proof vest stuff, and they’re working on ways to make it do all KINDS of amazing stuff. Which will of course probably be turned into some horrible weapon or armor thing by the military-industrial complex…

  14. If the theoretical stuff ends up becoming practical reality, the fabric will be like uber-geek-wonder-garment stuff – they’re anticipating making electroconductive fabrics with built-in capacitors, and it is nearly as strong as bullet-proof vest stuff, and they’re working on ways to make it do all KINDS of amazing stuff. Which will of course probably be turned into some horrible weapon or armor thing by the military-industrial complex…

  15. I just wish you could see more in the pictures! The camera HATED it… auto-focus was very confusing for it, because of the blackness. It would zoom in and out and in and out before snapping the shot.

    Hopefully, I’ll get to make some fabrics with it myself – we’re gonna be talking about it after I get back from California.

  16. I just wish you could see more in the pictures! The camera HATED it… auto-focus was very confusing for it, because of the blackness. It would zoom in and out and in and out before snapping the shot.

    Hopefully, I’ll get to make some fabrics with it myself – we’re gonna be talking about it after I get back from California.

  17. We have a group here at NASA working with that stuff. It has some strange properties. I hope you don’t accidentally open a portal to a parallel universe.

  18. We have a group here at NASA working with that stuff. It has some strange properties. I hope you don’t accidentally open a portal to a parallel universe.

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