In a recent Science journal article entitled “Strong, Light, Multifunctional Fibers of Carbon Nanotubes with Ultrahigh Conductivity,” Professor Anson Ma and colleagues from Rice University detail their recent breakthrough revolutionizing the use of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are rolled cylinders of graphene sheets that have unprecedented mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. In the past, many of the potential real-world applications of CNTs remained unfulfilled because researchers experienced great difficulties dispersing and processing CNTs into macroscopic objects while maintaining their fascinating properties. To address this problem, Dr. Ma and colleagues from Rice developed a scalable fluid-based process for spinning CNTs into lightweight and multifunctional fibers. These fibers combine the mechanical strength of carbon fibers with the specific electrical conductivity of metals, opening up the exciting possibility of using CNTs in aerospace, field-emission, and power-transmission applications. The article can be accessed at: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1228061.
Dr. Ma, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the UK, joined UConn in August 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering with a dual appointment in the Institute of Materials Science Polymer Program. He recently received the Distinguished Young Rheologist Award from TA Instruments, which recognizes young faculty members who show exceptional promise in the field of rheology. Prior to that, he received the National Science Foundation Early Concept Grant for Exploration Research (EAGER) award, which focuses on investigating the use of nanoparticles in the delivery of cancer drugs.