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Surprising Science

Bullet-Proof Sweaters

"Scientists in China have developed a strong, highly conductive carbon yarn that could be used to make spacesuits, bullet-proof vests, and radiation suits."

“Now scientists in China reveal they have made composite yarns from carbon nanotubes and plastic that are both very strong and electrically conductive. The researchers first wove pure carbon nanotube yarns as free of physical defects as possible, to ensure it had good electrical conductivity. They next impregnated a strengthening plastic into the empty spaces inside this yarn, using a solvent that did not leave any leftovers behind that would detract from the yarn’s electrical properties. The strength of these new yarns—up to about five times stronger than steel—combined with their flexibility makes them attractive for protective fabrics such as bulletproof vests.”


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