Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of a DWNT-polymer fiber which exhibits high strength and toughness. The inset shows a transmission electron microscope (TEM) image of a well ordered bundle of DWNTs which are the constituents that make up the macroscopic fibers (Image: Northwestern University)
A new high performance fiber that is better at absorbing energy without breaking than Kevlar has been created by the U.S Department of Defence. While still under development, the material could be used in bulletproof vests, parachutes, or in composite materials for vehicles, airplanes and satellites in the future. The fiber has been engineered from carbon nanotubes spun into a yarn and held together using a polymer. The resultant material is tough and strong while still remaining flexible.