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Cutting Edge - Germans serve up heating paper

MATERIALS

COMPETITORS at this month's Wimbledon Tennis Championship could be helping engineers develop an ingenious room heating system thanks to research in Germany.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group in Stuttgart claimed that methods to produce minuscule tubes from carbon, used during the manufacture of modern tennis rackets, could allow the production of room-heating wallpaper.

Since the initial discovery of carbon nanotubes their use has been hindered by their inability to bind properly with other materials.

This makes the material difficult to produce for mass manufacturing but a team at the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group, led by project manager Ivica Kolaric, has developed a system that allows the large scale production of the material at low cost.

The research team is manufacturing the carbon nanotube in sheets that look like black art paper and costs just a few pence per square metre, according to Mr Kolaric.

He claimed the team could manufacture the sheets in a range of shapes and sizes and that the carbon nanotube systems could be mixed with different materials and combines just as easily with plastics and textiles.

Mr Kolaric claimed the greatest potential for creating new products is in harnessing the electrical properties of the nanotubes to generate heat as the material is not only light and robust but is also an efficient conductor.

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