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Carbon Nanotube Developments in Clothing Could Protect Against Future Chemical Weapons

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Ethelyn Brye is an award-winning author and blogger. Growing up in Switzerland and influenced by renowned Swiss design and a lot of fresh mountain air, she attended and completed design studies in Geneva. Post graduation she moved to Washington State to work for a design firm, but her love of writing brought her to Cyanosaur. She's highly interested in strategy rpgs, mountain climbing, board games with friends and skiing. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her lovely cat Armstrong.

Developed in the beginning in 2007, there’s lots going on these days with Carbon Nanotube Developments, and their potential usages considering it’s such a strong substance. Recent advancements in the technology have given its creators hope that it could be used in commercial products as early as 2015. Once the expensive material can be mass produced so that it comes with a consumer-friendly price tag, products like heated sidewalk mats and cushions could start hitting the market.

There’s a company who have created a soft washable fabric woven with carbon nanotube coated fibers that produces heat when electricity is applied. By weaving carbon nanotubes into clothing, another team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may have figured out a simple way to deconstruct nerve gases, like sarin, in moments.

On a molecular level, it’s the physical shape and charge pattern of a molecule that allows it to interact with other molecules. In the case of sarin gas, its shape gives it devastatingly toxic properties (this was the nerve gas used in the now infamous 1995 Tokyo subway attacks). Exposure to sarin, either by inhalation or contact with the skin, causes the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to build up in the nervous system, which makes muscles seize up. When this effect reaches the diaphragm and other muscles responsible for breathing, asphyxiation is not far behind. The key to deconstructing sarin and similar organophosphate compounds is breaking the P-F bond, and this is what the NIST team has figured out how to do with specially treated carbon nanotubes.

Super interesting developments the NIST team are coming to discover, Of course, this all assumes such a material can be made safe, comfortable for the wearer, and somewhat affordable — far from a sure thing when working with exotic nanoparticles.

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