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Macromolecular Materials Laboratory


Over the past decade MML has developed a unique process for synthesizing carbon nanotubes via the floating catalyst route, and at the same time winding the entangled aerogel into a fibre. The process will work with a variety of different carbon feedstocks and generates a fibre with axial properties in the Kevlar range, but great robustness in bending.

It is thus possible to convert natural gas continuously into a high tech fibre in a single reactor. Current focus of the work is the improvement  of mechanical, electrical and thermal properties for a wide range of applications, some of them multifunctional. Part of this activity is through enhanced control of the spinning process itself, other approaches rely on post spinning processes such as chemical functionalization of the fibre and heat and radiation treatments. The fibre’s unique mechanical robustness stems from the fact that it is a nanoscale yarn, which also means that when incorporated in composites, the matrix penetrates the fibre providing unique level of bonding with the matrix.

Carbon Nanotubes Processing

Prof James  Elliott
Professor of Macromolecular Materials Science
Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in Natural Sciences (Fitzwilliam College)
Dr Jerónimo  Terrones Portas
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Prof Alan  Windle
Emeritus Professor of Materials Science
Fellow of Trinity College