Thread spun from pure carbon nanotubes
Russell McMahon email (remove spam text)
> >One small step towards a Space Elevator ... ?
> >(method not ideal, but allows pure nanotube threads to be drawn.)
> I'd like to know what the tensile strength of said thread is rumored to
> be. I forget the exact figures, but I expect that the elevator would
> still need to be tapered to handle the useful load of several hundred
> tonnes required to produce an effective elevator.
Tensile strength of properly constructed carbon nano-tubes is "enough". The
present material will almost certainly be well below ideal so far.
Regardless of material ANY space elevator will be tapered as the material
use is very much reduced by this and it makes very little sense not to taper
it. We could theoretically make one with currently available materials but
the dimensions and taper ratio would in practice be unmanageable. Diamond
works well enough I believe, but current synthesis techniques and consequent
material cost make it a little impractical so far :-)
"When" we get a practical Space Elevator material it will also be good
enough to allow a single span suspension bridge across the Straits of
Gibraltar. And a few other interesting places as well no doubt.
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