The application of carbon nanotubes ranges from heart rate monitoring shirts, smart bandages, and solar cells. Emerging uses have sprung up. Now American scientists have applied this magical material to helmets to bring powerful shock absorption effects.
The so-called carbon nanotubes are graphene rolled into tubes. Graphene is composed of carbon atoms connected together in a hexagonal honeycomb shape. It is the thinnest but also the hardest nanomaterial known in the world. The new lightweight “super-shock-absorbing” helmet sponge developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) is composed of countless micron-scale hollow cylindrical structures, and the walls of the structure are rows of vertically arranged carbon nanotubes.
Generally, the shock-absorbing quality of the sponge depends on factors such as the inner diameter of the cylinder, the wall thickness, and the size of the gap between the cylinders. The team obtained the best result after 60 different combination configurations. The UW team pointed out that the energy absorption rate of the new sponge is 18 times higher than that of the current US military helmet sponge. Not only is it stronger, but as an added advantage of the material, it can maintain its quality even in extreme high and low temperatures.
The UW team is also now working with helmet manufacturer Team Wendy to test a prototype helmet liner in real-world scenarios. Lead scientist Ramathasan Thevamaran said the new material has huge potential for energy absorption, reducing impact and thus reducing the likelihood of brain damage.
(First image source: UW)
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