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As implied near the end of this article, carbon nanotube fibers have been synthesized in chunks on the order of about a centimeter in length (Fei Wei at Tsinghua University in 2018). What is the cost per unit length for making these fibers? Does it seem feasible to do so in the next 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?

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  • $\begingroup$ OK, that's better, but what do you mean with "Does it seem feasible to do so in the next 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?" $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jul 22 '19 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ Zhang et al. reported the creation of CNT fibers with growing rate 5 mm/s to up to final length of 550 mm (surpassing half of a metre), in ACS Nano 2013, 7, 6156-6161 (doi 10.1021/nn401995z). They used motorized equipment (e.g., a furnace on rails) which might point into "carbo nanotube spinning". $\endgroup$ – Buttonwood Jul 22 '19 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ I mean, assuming that cost is the primary factor, are there technological advances on the horizon which will bring the cost down in the near future, or does it seem more like we'll have to wait 50 or 100 years? $\endgroup$ – DJG Jul 22 '19 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ You should check if the authors have spun off a start-up or have licensed their process (if patented), and see if they are selling the tubes. Maybe they are in talks with manufacturers and resellers who can scale up the process and distribution. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Jul 22 '19 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ @BuckThorn Apparently the experiment was run without a bobbin. But from "normal scale world" we know cotton may be collected on a bobbin, as copper wires, too, provided the radius of the bobbin is adjusted. The article describes many of the parameters, including ratio of $\ce{H2}/\ce{CH4}$, temperatures, catalyst and water loading, analytical techniques of "quality control"; which closes a bit the window of novelty patent offices tend to require. $\endgroup$ – Buttonwood Jul 22 '19 at 16:53