Jinling Institute for Advanced Study, materials science laboratory.
Lu Zhou was standing next to an optical microscope. He gently turned the focusing helix dial and observed the carbon nanotubes on the microscope slide.
A couple of minutes later, Lu Zhou looked up at Yang Xu and asked, "Theres no way to make it longer?"
Yang Xu shook his head.
"Thats as long as we can do."
By looking at the sample through the microscope, Lu Zhou could see that the shortest sample was only 5-10m long, while the longest was 2mm long.
Unfortunately, when comparing the 2mm carbon nanotubes to the silky cloth material, the carbon nanotube was rough like stubble
Lu Zhou rubbed his chin and asked, "What about the directional growth technology used in the SG-1 superconducting material? Have you tried that?"
"Ive tried everything," Yang Xu shook his head and said, "but the pore size of the high tensile carbon nanotube is much smaller than that of the SG-1 material. It is very difficult to synthesize by directional growth Even if we could, it would be extremely costly."
Superconducting materials could be used in high-technology fields, so the costs were acceptable. However, spending this much on clothing materials was a bit unnecessary.
Lu Zhou stared at the microscope as he said, "So you have no ideas at all?"
"Not quite, I have some ideas." Yang Xu picked up a report from the experiment table next to him and handed it to Lu Zhou. He said, "According to the data from several sets of experiments, improving the catalyst could effectively improve the creation of long carbon nanotubes. These nitrogen-containing carbon nanotubes are very similar to an experiment I did before.
"Therefore, we just need to improve the catalyst such that the catalyst remains active during the higher temperature growth of the carbon nanotubes. Theoretically, this will increase the length."
When it came to growing carbon nanotubes, catalyst deactivation during high temperatures was inevitable. This was one of the main reasons for the carbon nanotube length limit.
However, improving the catalyst and delaying the deactivation time was a feasible and inexpensive research idea.
Lu Zhou nodded and said, " Then well go with what you said. If you run out of funds, just tell me."
"Dont worry, Ill definitely ask you for funding when I need it." Yang Xu smiled and said, "Oh yeah, theres something else I want to ask you. Now that we have a laboratory preparation method should we register a patent?"
Lu Zhou thought for a bit and said, "Register one for a carbon nanotube sample first, and wait on the catalyst."
Yang Xu: "What about the thesis?"
Lu Zhou: "After the patent is registered, we can submit a thesis that doesnt include the preparation method."
They were going to keep the synthesis process a secret and only submit the nitrogen-group carbon nanotube as an interesting materials science discovery.
Attracting more research institutes to participate would be a good thing for them.
This wasnt true only in the materials science field; this was true in all of academia. The more popular a problem became, the more research institutes would become interested, and the faster the results could be produced.
If a research institute closed its doors and didnt collaborate with anyone, it would take them decades to achieve any type of success.
"Okay then." Yang Xu nodded and said, "Oh yeah, what should we name it?"
Yang Xu didnt think twice before asking this.
However, the moment the words came out of his mouth, he began to regret asking.
But it was too late, the question was already asked.
Lu Zhou smiled awkwardly and thought for a while.
"Lets call it N-1."
There was nothing special about the nomenclature, considering the fact that the special characteristic of the carbon nanotube was its nitrogen group, so Lu Zhou decided to use "N" to represent "nitrogen".
The "1" was obviously because this was the first generation of this kind of carbon nanotubes. The second generation would be called "N-2" and so forth.
Even though he wanted to call it something like "super tensile carbon nanotubes" or "carbon nanotube that is 100 times stronger than steel", the names were too long and time-consuming to write. Therefore, he abandoned the idea.
Lu Zhou was quite satisfied with his own naming abilities. He looked at Yang Xu and saw that Yang Xu was quiet.
" What?" Lu Zhou asked.
"Nothing" Yang Xu smiled awkwardly and said, "It definitely fits your style."
Lu Zhou: "?"
What is that supposed to mean?
You dont like my naming system?
Suddenly, Lu Zhou received a call.
When he saw that Director Li was calling, he bid farewell to Yang Xu and answered the call while walking out of the laboratory.
It sounded like something was wrong, so Lu Zhou skipped the small talk and asked, "What happened?"
Sure enough, Director Lis words confirmed Lu Zhous suspicion.
"Something happened at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The cooling function of the core module is subpar." Director Li paused for two seconds and said, "The launch has to be delayed."
Heat dissipation was a huge problem for spacecraft. It was also a problem that was difficult to detect during the design phase. Even though there was a technology that could simulate heat output and heat dissipation, the simulation still had a certain amount of deviation from real life.
For example, the GOES-17 United States satellite was vulnerable to solar radiation and overheating due to the cooling system design flaws. This made it unable to obtain infrared cloud images in a timely and effective manner. The hundred-million-dollar investment was a total waste.
In some sense, discovering the problem before the launch could be considered fortunate. After all, there was no way to fix the module in orbit.
Lu Zhou immediately asked, "What if we just install some heat sinks?"
Director Li said, "The problem isnt the heat sink, its the loop heat pipe."
Lu Zhous heart dropped. He knew this was going to be a major problem.
"Youre saying that the entire loop heat pipe has to be redesigned?"
There was a hint of anguish in Director Lis voice.
"Im afraid so."
Lu Zhou: ""
We have to redesign the loop heat pipe?!
Might as well redesign the whole f*cking core module!