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Better Hockey Stick with Carbon Nanotubes


A team of researchers at the NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences is currently using the cutting-edge science of nanotechnology to make better hockey sticks with carbon nanotubes.
 Image credit: National Research Council Canada

Carbon nanotubes are tiny hollow cylinders made entirely of the element carbon. They get their name from the fact that their diameters are about one nanometer across; one million times smaller than a millimeter. It is almost impossible to imagine things this small. To put it in perspective, if one of these nanotubes were as round as a piece of ordinary dental floss, the person using it would be about 1,500 km tall with teeth the size of Mt. Everest!
Despite their size, carbon nanotubes are 100 times stronger than steel and only one sixth of the weight. Adding carbon nanotubes to the composites used in today’s hockey sticks can dramatically improve their durability, meaning lighter, tougher, and more flexible sticks that won’t break at that crucial moment in the game. 
 Image credit: National Research Council Canada

This new technology will bring lighter, tougher, and more flexible sticks that won’t break at that crucial moment in the game.
Unfortunately, the current market price of nanotubes is more than 20 times that of gold. Only tiny amounts of carbon nanotubes are needed to see significant improvements in sporting good performance, making the benefits outweigh the extra cost. More widespread use of nanotubes in other areas will not come until the cost can be reduced substantially.
That is why NRC scientists are working to develop more cost-effective ways to produce carbon nanotubes and incorporate them into composites. Soon hockey players, golfers, cyclists, tennis players, and athletes in other sports will begin to experience the benefits of carbon nanotubes.

Through efforts like these, NRC is helping Canada’s athletes become stronger competitors that look, feel and perform better on the international stage.

Source: National Research Council Canada