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Livermore Lab Scientists Aim to Develop Protective Clothing Based on Carbon Nanotube Membrane

research and development RDScientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a carbon nanotube-based membrane designed to protect uniformed personnel from chemical and biological agents on the battlefield.

A team of researchers led by Ngoc Bui evaluated the transport functionalities of carbon nanotube pores to design a breathable material, Livermore Lab said Wednesday.

“We demonstrated that these membranes provide rates of water vapor transport that surpass those of commercial breathable fabrics like GoreTex, even though the CNT pores are only a few nanometers wide,” said Bui, who is also lead author of the research paper published in the July 27 issue of the Advanced Materials journal.

Scientists performed filtration tests and found that the CNT-based material repelled dengue virus when tested on aqueous solutions.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency funds the Livermore Lab research project through the Dynamic Multifunctional Materials for a Second Skin program.

Tracee Whitfield, science and technology manager for DTRA’s Dynamic Multifunctional Material for a Second Skin program, said the initiative aims to turn novel materials into protective clothing against biological and chemical defense threats.

DTRA plans to demonstrate the “second skin” concept through swatch-level assessments in 2018, Whitfield added.

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