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Space Elevator. Chris Biedrzycki Ned Cameron Mike Gruener Erick Haro. What is a Space Elevator?. What is a Carbon Nanotube?. Can be thought of as a sheet of graphite (a hexagonal lattice of carbon) rolled into a cylinder. Why CNTs?. Young's modulus is over 1 Tera Pascal

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space elevator

Space Elevator

Chris Biedrzycki

Ned Cameron

Mike Gruener

Erick Haro

what is a carbon nanotube
What is a Carbon Nanotube?

Can be thought of as a sheet of graphite (a hexagonal lattice of carbon) rolled into a cylinder.

why cnts
Why CNTs?
  • Young's modulus is over 1 Tera Pascal
  • Strength 100x that of steel at 1/6 the weight (estimated tensile strength is 200 Giga Pascal)
categories of cnts
Categories of CNTs
  • Multi-walled nanotubescharacterized by formation of nanotubes within nanotubes
  • Single-walled nanotubes
chemical vapor deposition
Chemical Vapor Deposition

• Involves heating a catalyst material to high temperatures in a tube furnace and flowing hydrocarbon gas through the tube reactor

• The materials are grown over the catalyst and are collected when the system is cooled to room temperature

• Key parameters are:

– Hydrocarbons

– Catalysts

– Growth Temperature

• CVD process involves the dissociation of hydrocarbon molecules catalyzed by the transition metal, and the dissolution and saturation of carbon atoms in the metal nanoparticle

• Both MWNT and SWNT can be grown by CVD methods

– MWNTs use acetylene gas for the carbon source and a growth temperature between 600 – 800°C

– SWNTs use carbon monoxide or methane for a carbon source and a much higher growth temperature (900 –1200°C)

arc method
Arc Method

• Carbon Atoms are evaporated by a plasma of Helium

gas that is ignited by high currents passed through

opposing carbon anode and cathode.

He Arc-Discharge

• Excellent Method for the production of both MWNT and SWNT

• CNTs are obtained by controlling growth conditions

– Pressure of gas in discharge chamber

– Arcing Current on a collector outside the furnace zone

cnt manufacturers
CNT Manufacturers
  • Carbon Solutions
  • CarboLex
  • Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc.
  • Fullerene International Corporation
  • Junye Nano Materials, Co.
  • Luna Nanomaterials
  • Luxtera
  • Nanocs International
  • Nanoledge
  • Oxonica
  • Showa Denka KK
  • Deal International Inc.
  • Micro Tech Nano, Inc
  • Nano Carb Lab(NCL)
  • NanoLab, Inc
  • Nanostructured and Amorphous Materials, Inc
  • Nanosys
  • Catalytic Materials LLC
  • INPT
problems encountered
Problems Encountered
  • Cost – High production costs
  • Separation – Untangling nanotubes
  • Length – 63,000 mi is a lot of ribbon
to infinity and beyond
To Infinity and Beyond….

Gigantic antenna – Capable of receiving radio waves from distant


Large Geosynchronous Station – capable of hundreds of permanent

residents, science labs, pharmaceutical factories

Settlements on Mars, Moon, Venus


Cable breakage – unrepairable

2x safety factor

If breaks, some will splash down, some will burn up

Still create less waste than burning a rocket

Nano-epoxy (Nano-tape) – Still in the developmental stages

High winds - 155mph winds (Class 5 hurricane) can snap the ribbon

position is not in a high wind, or hurricane area

Electricity – Is a concern, but chosen location avoids lightning strikes.

Oscillations –7-hour natural frequency actively damped by the anchor

Radiation – Components are good for 1000 years in orbit


Anchor can move ~1 km each day to avoid debris and satellites

Anchor is ~400 mi from all shipping and airplane routes

Using current materials? – No.

entities involved
Entities Involved

3M Corporation Los Alamos National Laboratory

Art Anderson Associates Nanoledge

Augur Aeronautical Centre NASA - Johnson Space Center

Bennett Optical / Compower Owens-Corning

Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc. Princeton University

Lockheed Martin ReyTech

European Space Agency Rutgers University

Flight Materials Group U of Mississippi – Space Law Center

Foster-Miller, Inc. T. Y. Lin International

Harvard University Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

HighLift Systems University of Kentucky

  • Now, Cargo $50,000/lb
  • Now, Cargo 4,000lb/day
  • First Elevator, Cargo $100/lb
  • First Elevator, Cargo 12,000lb/day
method to improve elevator
Method to Improve Elevator
  • Use superconducting property of nanotube ribbon
  • Maglev type ascention