Heated Carbon Nanotubes Produce Sound, May Make Conventional Speakers Obsolete

November 04 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 2

Chinese researchers have discovered that by sending current through sheets of carbon nanotubes they can create sound.

“Shoushan Fan and his research team at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, working with colleagues at Beijing Normal University, created a thin sheet by roughly aligning many 10-nanometer-diameter carbon nanotubes. When they sent an audio frequency current through the sheet, they discovered it acted as a loudspeaker.” -New Scientist

Carbon nanotubes have been touted the world over as invaluable in many technological projects such as efficient solar cells, localized medication delivery and even in larger structures such as the planned space elevator if that ever takes off. But this is the first experiment in using nanotubes as a replacement for traditional speakers.

Why would you make the switch?

For starters, size is a huge advantage. The sheer bulk of regular speakers is enough for anyone to wish they had more room on their desk or in their living room. Carbon nanotube speakers can be thinner than paper, allowing for objects to be coated in speaker material. That’s not all.

The nanotubes themselves can be stretched to the point where they are actually translucent. This means you could coat the front of your TV or computer monitor with them and visibility wouldn’t be an issue. The stretching of the material does not in any way change the acoustical properties of the nanotubes, something I still can’t wrap my mind around.

Maybe ten to fifteen years down the road we could see just about everything in our lives impacted by this stuff. Watches whose face could tell you the time vocally, miniature earplugs able to be powered by your body heat, even cars and bikes acting as portable loudspeakers for that day at the beach or for some serious tailgating. The future could be a very loud place indeed.

via New Scientist

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. What if they weave the stuff into our clothing. Singing jackets? Or maybe that singing bush from Three Amigos could actually exist.

    Posted by: martymcfly   November 05, 2008
    Vote for this comment - Recommend

Related content from the Future Scanner and Future Blogger