Protect Your Phone with Shock-Absorbing Nanotubes

By Andrew Moseman | August 14, 2008 4:47 pm

broken phoneCell phones are fragile: One slip of the fingers and yours can be headed for a disastrous meeting with the sidewalk, leaving you headed to the store for a replacement. Once again, however, nanotechnology might be coming to our rescue.

Clemson University scientists led by Apparao Rao say they’ve created a new process to help make phones, car bumpers, or other often-broken items a little more resilient. The researchers built beds of tiny coiled carbon nanotubes that act as spring-like shock absorbers, protecting the object from a fall or collision.

It was no secret that putting a slew of carbon nanotubes together could create this effect; Rao and his team say the difference in their process is that they can create a layer of shock-absorbing tubes in a single step. Only coiled tubes and not straight ones completely bounce back after impact, Rao says, but creating coiled tubes had been too expensive and time-consuming to be used at an industrial level before this finding.

Now, if only they could make cell phones waterproof, too.

Image: flickr/justinbaeder

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar