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The Power of Carbon

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Geoff Hale.

Light refreshments available from 19:00

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element after hydrogen, helium and oxygen in the universe. It is present in the sun, stars, comets, and atmospheres of most planets. The unique chemical characteristics of carbon give it flexibility like no other atom in the periodic table. In the pure form it is highly stable and requires high temperature to react with oxygen or other elements.

There are several allotropes of carbon and the commonly known are diamond, graphite and amorphous carbon (soot). For hundreds of years carbon (coal, gas and oil) has been used as the source of energy for our civilization. Some of the other applications range from pencils, indigestion tablets, braking systems, moderator/reflector in nuclear reactors and plasma shielding tiles in fusion reactors.

There is another allotropic form of carbon referred to as fullerenes (buckyballs and carbon nanotubes). Carbon nanotubes are tubes with nanometre size diameters and macroscopic size lengths made from just carbon atoms. They are particularly promising due to their lightweight and extraordinary electrical, thermal and mechanical properties that have captured the imagination of researchers worldwide. However, the key to the actual harvesting of carbon nanotubes potential is in their controlled synthesis at the molecular level.

In this talk I will take you on the journey with carbon and focus on current and future remarkable potential it can offer.

This talk is part of the Cambridge and Anglian Materials Society meetings series.

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