Energy storage potential of CNT springs

Carbon nanotubes as energy storage
Carbon nanotubes as energy storageCourtesy ghutchis

Carbon nanotube springs may be better than batteries

What does a mousetrap have in common with a wind-up clock? A spring. A spring can provide energy to run a clock for days. A mouse trap spring can deliver a quick, deadly energy burst. Unlike batteries, energy stored in a spring can last hundreds of years and is usually not diminished by extreme cold or heat.

1000 times the energy density of a steel spring

MIT scientist, Carol Livermore, "did a combination of mathematical analysis and small-scale laboratory testing to determine the potential of carbon nanotubes to be used as springs for energy storage" MITnews.

Lots of basic research and engineering challenges remain

The nanospring concept is sound in theory and may even be patented. Working out the details to provide a working device using carbon-nano-tubes to store and re-deliver energy will require plenty of additional basic research, followed by engineering work.


Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

EdwardThirlwall's picture
EdwardThirlwall says:

Wow, I didn’t know a spring could be so powerful when it comes to energy storage. I thought it was just a simple mechanism that is of not much use. However, after reading this article, then I got to know that it is a very powerful storage mechanism that can store 1000 times more energy as compared to batteries (that are known to be powerful). Well, we learn new things everyday. Thanks for this great and educational article.

posted on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 1:29am
ThomasMaloney's picture
ThomasMaloney says:

I think that you're taking the energy storage thing a little bit too literally. It's barely a renewable source in this case. Honestly speaking, if we are truly looking to excel and advance the research on energy storage, we should be focusing a lot more in how we are going to store energy AFTER it has been produced. For example, once the spring releases its energy, the energy is entirely lost. How do we make this process more efficient?

posted on Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:54pm

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