Entertainment Editor
03.08.10 7 Comments

No, not like that.

MIT has just opened up a new area of energy research, which is also my euphemism for an evening with your mom.  The researchers coated carbon nanotubes with a reactive fuel that produces heat when decomposing.  Then they lit one end of the tubes with lasers or high-voltage sparks, sending a heat wave through the tube and creating an electric current.

With a temperature of 3,000 kelvins [which, according to my calculations, is either just under 5000 ºF, or it’s yahtzee], this ring of heat speeds along the tube 10,000 times faster than the normal spread of this chemical reaction. The heating produced by that combustion, it turns out, also pushes electrons along the tube, creating a substantial electrical current. […] After further development, the system now puts out energy, in proportion to its weight, about 100 times greater than an equivalent weight of lithium-ion battery. [Physorg]

The nanotubes being tested now only produce DC current and are inefficient (giving off too much heat and light), but MIT is working on improvements.  What I want to know is, who thought “I have these awesome nanotubes; let’s cover them in fuel and set them on fire with lasers”?  Looks like somebody’s been reading the RoboPanda playbook.  Which is odd, because I set that sucker on fire years ago.

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