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July 25th, 2007
Carbon Goes Tubular
Nothing today exudes "high-tech" better than carbon fiber. There's something undeniably seductive about its absolute blackness. Rigs, blocks, sails, hulls, tillers, and even toilets—if it's on a raceboat, someone will build it out of carbon fiber. There's no denying that it's the wonder material of today. But with the recent explosion of carbon nanotube technology, what we consider high-tech is about to go much higher. In other words, if you think your carbon rig is state-of-the-art now, wait for tomorrow.
"You can do virtually anything with it," says Dave Eck, of Forte Carbon Fiber Products, of Ledyard, Conn. "It's there, and maybe six years from now we'll all be using it."
It, the incredible carbon nanotube, is a man-made cylindrical carbon thread with a diameter of only one nanometer (that's one billionth of a meter). Most are a few microns in length (micron being one-millionth of a meter). Under a high-powered microscope you'd mistake one tube for a fleck of dust.
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