Scientists are reporting the development of a new, ultra-light form of “frozen smoke” — renowned as the world’s lightest solid material — with amazing strength and an incredibly large surface area.
The new so-called “multiwalled carbon nanotube (MCNT) aerogel” could be used in sensors to detect pollutants and toxic substances, chemical reactors, and electronics components.
Aerogels are solid but so light that they have been compared to frozen smoke. However, only a few scientists have succeeded in making aerogels from carbon nanotubes, wisps of carbon so small that almost 50,000 would fit across the width of a human hair.
The MCNT aerogels also are excellent conductors of electricity, making them ideal for sensing applications, such as sensing as little as 0.003527 ounce of a material resting in the palm of one hand.