Ms. K.M shared this interesting article from our friends at phys.org, and it is, when one considers its implications, quite significant. Before I launch on my history lesson and high octane speculation of the day, first, the article:
Here's the crux of the article:
Scientists at Rice University have discovered that the strong force field emitted by a Tesla coil causes carbon nanotubes to self-assemble into long wires, a phenomenon they call "Teslaphoresis."
The team led by Rice chemist Paul Cherukuri reported its results this week in ACS Nano.
Cherukuri sees this research as setting a clear path toward scalable assembly of nanotubes from the bottom up.
The system works by remotely oscillating positive and negative charges in each nanotube, causing them to chain together into long wires. Cherukuri's specially designed Tesla coil even generates a tractor beam-like effect as nanotube wires are pulled toward the coil over long distances.
This force-field effect on matter had never been observed on such a large scale, Cherukuri said, and the phenomenon was unknown to Nikola Tesla, who invented the coil in 1891 with the intention of delivering wireless electrical energy.
Now, clearly, what is of interest to phys.org is the fact that there is a field effect from the Tesla coil working at a distance, aligning carbon nanotubes.
But what I find much more intriguing are the potential implications as a general confirmation of what Nikola Tesla was trying to do, and actually claimed to be able to do, namely, beam electrical power wirelessly, to operate electrical appliances. For decades, this claim has been disputed by some, with the disputes ranging the whole spectrum, from its impossibility, to a more practial type of response that, while possible, it would be impractical. Various engineers have, since Tesla's time, done various "proof of concept" experiments demonstrating that at the minimum, Tesla's concepts would, in fact, actually work. In more recent years, the work of Eric Dollard is an example. But as a mechanism of actual materials engineering, as the article indicates, Tesla himself did not ever say anything.
What intrigues me about the story is, once again, the timing of the story, for there has been a steady drip of stories lately about this energy technology and that energy technology. One might even go so far as to suggest that this type of "electrial materials engineering' might itself be a key to making Tesla's idea of "wireless power" a practical feasible concept, and not just a theoretical one or an experimental oddity generating low electrical currents at a distance. Why suggest such a thing?
Very simple: the key to Tesla's wireless system was the phenomenon of resonance: if the receiving end of the wireless power was in resonance, then the circuit was closed, and the devices operated. Configuring materials to take a certain form in the lattice structure in the very type of electrcial field being produced, would be a key way of configuring - potentially(not to coin a pun!) - an efficient electrial resonator.
High octane speculation? To be sure, but nonetheless, the experiment is highly suggestive, and one can easily predict that this experiment will inspire many others of a similar nature, and these in turn may make Tesla's dream of over a century ago take a step closer to becoming a public reality. Time will tell, but for the moment, it's something to watch.
See you on the flip side...