Bullet-proof vests

Published: Saturday 31 October 1998

Scientists in the US have conducted experiments that could help manufacture strong bullet-proof vests. They have proved that nanotubes are about 200 times tougher than any other fibre. "It's amazing but it is true," says Daniel Wagner, a researcher at the Weizmann Institute at Rehovot, Israel. According to him, the tubes can withstand pressure up to a million atmospheres. This is twice as strong as comparable fibres. The finding could lead to composite materials reinforced by nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are football-shaped molecules made of 60 carbon atoms. The nanotubes get their strength from the stability of the carbon-carbon bond in the tube and small defects in the tiny rods. But the structural properties of the tubes are hard to measure due to their small size.

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