It’s no secret to the scientific world that carbon nanotubes are changing the face of science—in fact, researchers and scientists are spending more and more time these days developing and discovering new means of using carbon nanotubes to do…well, just about everything. Since 2005, nanotube water has been a hot topic of discussion, although carbon nanotubes have made quite a few other advances as well.
If you have a plant that isn’t drinking enough water to survive, pump it full of carbon nanotubes. If you have a sensor machine that doesn’t detect chemical gases fast enough, make a new one with carbon nanotubes. If you have a car that’s not strong enough and weighs too much to be profitable, rebuild it using carbon nanotubes. In fact, carbon nanotubes are so light, that you could carry a thousand of them in your pocket and not even know that they there. In addition, they’re so strong that you could shoot a bullet from an AK-47 at close range and the bullet would simply bounce back without even making a dent.
But nanotube water has its own implications for science and for the world at large, if not only for the many many fields of study, discovery and production that it touches every day. Nanotube water is defined as a form of water that is one-dimensional and that exists as a string of water molecules contained within a carbon nanotube. The chemical reactions that occur between the water and the nanotube come out with several interesting reactions.
One of the most interesting reactions occurring with this water is that this water does not freeze, even at temperatures well below freezing. In fact, nanotube water remains fluid even at temperatures hundreds below zero—the lowest recorded temperature before this water begins to form a thin icy layer is 8 degrees Kelvin, or for those on the Fahrenheit scale, minus 445 degrees Fahrenheit. Nanotube water remains fluid even in the most chilling of temperatures, most likely due to a softer set of hydrogen bonds throughout the chain of water.
So what does this mean for science and for the world? For science, the characteristics of nanotube water may mean several things. For one, the pressure effect of this new use for nanotubes and water together is up to 5kbar. This could mean the possible existence of a new critical point for science.
Additionally, the water in these nanotubes only begins to crystallize and create a thin layer of ice at 8 degrees Kelvin. This suggests, as there is no other evidence or mention, that water does not completely freeze over at this point, but yet remains moderately or at least somewhat fluid. Absolute zero on the Kelvin scale has never been reached and surpassing it or even coming this close to it with a fluid has not been dreamed of in many years.
Implications may be even more far reaching for the world and for every day living. If there is a possibility for water to remain unfrozen at temperatures hundreds below freezing, then there may be a possibility to sustain life in places such as Antarctica and the Arctic, without having to change much of the general environment. As the planet becomes more and more crowded, this option may become more viable and more attractive.
Additionally, the characteristics exhibited in tests with nanotubes and water may help scientists come up with more ideas on how to help produce cleaner air, cleaner water and an all around cleaner environment for our immediate and far out futures.
What everything boils down to in the case of water and nanotubes is that the applications for carbon nanotubes are reaching far beyond the general scope of science and into the dreams of the scientists themselves. We rely on scientists to bring changes to the world that make us run faster, live better and stay on top of the food and evolutionary chains for longer than time dictates.
Carbon nanotubes have been changing the face of science for nearly two decades and in the past five years, carbon nanotubes and their reactions to water have given science a whole new way of thinking about how the world works, and how it doesn’t.