While not directly related to creating a tether for a Space Elevator, their latest development shows that this company continues to push the carbon nanotube envelope. From their website:
CONCORD, N.H.— February 19, 2008 — Nanocomp Technologies, Inc., a developer of next-generation performance materials, today announced it has successfully produced 3-foot by 6-foot sheets of carbon nanotube material. This significant production milestone, the result of the company’s ongoing investment in nanotube growth technology and manufacturing capacity, gives Nanocomp the ability to generate the largest cohesive sheets of nanotube material ever produced.
Estimated strength of these sheets, from this press release, are:
The tensile strength of the mat ranges from 200 to 500 megapascals—a measure of how tough it is to break. A sheet of aluminum of equivalent thickness, for comparison, has a strength of 500 megapascals. If Nanocomp takes further steps to align the nanotubes, the strength jumps to 1,200 megapascals.
I think the significance of this is that companies/manufacturers continue to grow more familiar with this material, and this can only lead to further breakthroughs in this field.
(Picture comparing the nanotube sheet with a human being from the company website. Click on it or visit the website for a larger version)
(Hat tip to Tom Kastan for this post)