Nanoballs and R. Buckminster Fuller

October 18, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

Pick up any of the latest small-stream fly rods and you might wonder why on the good green earth anyone would want a fly rod that weighs even less. But new advances in nanotechnology will likely make it possible to build rods that weight not 7/8 of an ounce, but perhaps 1/10 of an ounce. (No doubt the reel will have to weigh less than a feather too, but we’ll let the engineers figure that one out.)
It seems that a new type of carbon “paper” is in development at various universities around the U.S., including Florida State University. The paper uses layers of carbon nanotubes that are 50,000 times thinner than a human hair. These so called “buckytubes” derive their name from Buckminsterfullerenes, named after architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, whose geodesic domes matched the appearance of the the buckyball, the first discovered form of molecules composed entirely of carbon.