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Science geek + yarn geek = win!

I had the coolest yarn + science experience yesterday.



Dr. Ray Baughman of the NanoTech Institute saw my silk presentation at the Dallas Asian Festival in June, and invited me to come and deliver a seminar for their students. They asked a lot of very interesting and insightful questions - some of which I knew the answers to. I've never been quizzed on the finer points of silk-related physics and chemistry by a room full of PhD's.

Then, the coolness began. We went down to the wet lab, and they started showing me how they grow carbon nanotube "forests" on silicone plates (in a special oven at 700'C - about 1300'F) and use them to spin yarn. Tough, tiny yarn, made out of what amounts to fantastically organized soot. (see their article in the journal Science) The yarn is amazing stuff. I'm only beginning to get a grip on the things they're thinking.

And, then, coolest of all - a long meeting with the research leaders, and we're talking about the possiblities of silk/nanotube yarns and woven fabrics, and I'm going to go to the lab and work with them on some of my days off. I'm going to be a collaborator in their research. Pinch me.

Comments

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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geodyne
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
That's unbelievably cool!

I'm sure you know I'm a research scientist myself. They do choose the best suited people to work with, you know. This is a huge, well-earned compliment. I'm excited for you!
oakenking
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC)
Hee. I'm excited for me too!
(no subject) - balanceinchaos - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - balanceinchaos - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - geodyne - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - balanceinchaos - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
ROTFLMAO!!!! - balanceinchaos - Aug. 7th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - faunhaert - Nov. 1st, 2007 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Nov. 1st, 2007 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
phinnia
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Oh my God! That is so, so awesome.
molasses
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
wonderful!
balanceinchaos
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
ROCK ON!
pinkveneer
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
that's great to hear!!

i'll try to read the article...sounds very interesting, but they want you to sign in/register to read. grrr. maybe i'll just buiy :)
oakenking
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
If you go to the Nanotech Institute site, and click on Publications on the right hand side, then click on FULL TEXT for the second article, it takes you there without asking for the registration. They must have some sort of referring deal that they don't have to sign up.
(no subject) - pinkveneer - Aug. 7th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
sunflower_andi
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
I saw somethng like this on NOVA the other day. They showed the nanotubes and how it can be pulled into long yarns.
That should be one of the strongest yarns ever made too.

"FASCINATING" as Mr, Spock would say.
an_sceal
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
I'm flabbergasted and amazed, and all kinds of other cool words.

Congratulations!
unluckymonkey
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
HOLY SHEET! Thats awesome! I'm really looking forward to hearing more about all this as it comes. :)
esmerel
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
Mm. that's seriously nerd-tacular. :)
selkie_b
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
Ohwowohwowohwow!!!!
flautenpupie_79
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
How interesting! What an opportunity.
hazelstitch
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
That is so cool :) Lucky you!
niamh_sage
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)
That is utterly cool indeed! :D will you actually get to work with some of these yarns and Make Stuff? Would be very interesting to hear how that pans out, and how the synthesized yarn compares with the natural fibres in terms of ease of working and the quality of the resulting textile. Imagine a carbon nanotube ball gown - heee!

oakenking
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Hee. I will probably get to actually make stuff - or at least try - but so far, the largest textile piece they've made, is about the size of my little fingernail. They're still at the point where all the spinning is being done by people with PhD's in esoteric science fields. I think ballgown is still a looooong way away. Ribbon, perhaps.
vicki_sine
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
I think that is awesome.

Are you going to get into some of the stuff on faux tissue and tissue matrix material?
oakenking
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
They haven't mentioned that; I don't know if that's being done here or not. They're still at the point of considering how to create yarns appropriate for textile structures, from what I have seen so far.
(no subject) - vicki_sine - Aug. 7th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
sclerotic_rings
Aug. 7th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
WOW. Give us more details when the research gets to a publishing level. I'm very intrigued.
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( 40 comments — Leave a comment )