UCF on Discovery News

Robots can solve puzzles, assist with surgery, and even stand in for caregivers, but ask one to handle potato chips without crushing them and humans still prevail. Robotic hands just aren’t sensitive enough. A new material dubbed “frozen smoke” could be the skin they need for a lighter touch.

“It’s a kind of very light carbon nanotube material,” said Lei Zhai, the associate professor of chemistry at the University of Central Florida who led the material’s development. Zhai and his team created the aerogel by fusing the tubes together in a novel way.

Carbon nanotubes have advantages: they’re strong, conductive, and have large surface areas. But their high aspect ratio means they naturally form bundles. Zhai compares them to fused chopsticks. “In order to use them, you have to separate them.”

Read the rest of the article by Alyssa Danigelis here.

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