UCL Poster Competition 2002/2003 Gallery

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Carbon Nanotube Bundle

Michael Mitchell, Bartlett School of Architecture

This is an image I generated in my studies of Carbon Nanotubes for my Masters of Architecture course. It is a 3D computer-generated model showing a bundle of nanotubes after their creation in laboratory conditions. Carbon Nanotubes are a new material based on the recently discovered buckminsterfullerene C 60 molecule. Until 1985 it was thought that carbon was found in nature only in its graphite or diamond form. Buckminsterfullerene (familiarly Bucky-Balls) is a spherical arrangement of 60 carbon atoms that looks like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, and thus has the honor of his name. While Bucky-Balls have not become the ground-breaking new material that their discoverers had hoped they would become, Carbon Nanotubes were created from them and are proving to be a path to a potential paradigm shift. Carbon Nanotubes are tiny, only about a nanometer in diameter. They can conduct electricity and have already been made into nano-scale transistors. Carbon-based chips could someday replace silicon-based chips and drastically reduce the size and increase the speed of computing technology. Carbon Nanotubes are also incredibly strong. Theoretical assessments have put their tensile strength far above carbon fiber and for that matter any other material known to humankind, including steel. It is this incredible strength of Carbon Nanotubes is at the center of my thesis research. What could be possible with such a material in terms of building? Could we “grow” this building material one molecule at a time? Will we grow whole buildings and bridges from it, again, one molecule at a time? Or will the architecture we develop which utilizes the newfound strength of Carbon Nanotubes exists only on the nano level, never to be seen without a microscope, but nevertheless assist our macro world through its unique properties?

 


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Postgraduate Law Research Students Joint Entry
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Key: Winner First Prize, Runner-Up Runner-Up, People's Choice Prize People's Choice Prize


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