A Chinese team of scientists have developed a new carbon nanotube tape that functions even under extreme temperatures.
Conventional tape is known to lose its stickiness in very hot or cold environments; it also leaves behind an annoying residue. This is indeed a problem for people living in extreme environments such as deserts and the Antarctic.
The Chinese scientists believe that this could all change thanks to their new nanomaterial tape.
They have acknowledged funding from the National Key Research and Development Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Chip.
In a previous study, the researchers had explored using nanomaterials, such as vertically aligned multi-walled carbon nanotubes (VA-MWNTs), to make better adhesive tapes.
Although their VA-MWNTs proved to be stronger than conventional tapes at both high and low temperatures, the materials were relatively thick and difficult to manufacture.
This led scientists Kai Liu, Xide Li, Wenhui Duan and Kaili Jiang to wonder if they could develop a new type of tape composed of superaligned carbon nanotube (SACNT) films.
SACNTs are nanotubes that are precisely aligned parallel to each other, capable of forming ultrathin but strong yarns or films.
To make their new tape, the researchers pulled a film from the interior of an array of SACNTs – similar to pulling a strip of tape from a roll.
The resulting double-sided tape was shown to adhere to surfaces through van der Waals interactions – weak electric forces generated between two atoms or molecules that are close together.
According to the scientists, the new ultrathin, ultra-lightweight and flexible tape outperforms conventional adhesives at temperatures ranging from -321 F to 1,832 F.
They were also able to remove the tape by peeling it off, soaking it in acetone or burning it, with no noticeable residues.
The tape has been designed to adhere to many different materials such as metals, nonmetals, plastics and ceramics.
It also sticks more strongly to smooth than rough surfaces, much similar to regular tape.
Image and content: Nano Letters/ACS via Eurekalert