So imagine my surprise when I saw this headline:
“Nanocyl and 3B-Fibreglass Announce Joint Agreement for Developing CNT-Sized Glass Fibers.”
Wow! Glass fibers the size of a CNT! Keep in mind that CNT’s are built up in size from atoms, while glass fibers are built down in size from the everyday world (typically by pushing molten glass through a small circular opening and then pulling on it to make it even thinner in diameter.) Individual fiber optic glass strands are about 10 microns in diameter or so, a whole 3 orders of magnitude larger than CNTs. I couldn’t wait to find out about the technology breakthrough that would close that gap.
And then I realized that I had misunderstood the headline. "Size" refers not only to how large something is, it is also and old-but-still-used papermaking term for a coating applied to the web; the term is also used in other industries such as glass and fiber production. Such is the case here: the CNTs are applied as a sizing to standard glass fibers. Certainly interesting and potentially useful, but quite different from what I initially expected.
This is not the first time I’ve made that mistake. Many self-wound pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes (such as masking tape) have a sizing on them so that you can unwind the tape. This is often called a low-adhesion backsize. When I first started working at 3M, it took me quite some time for to realize that others were using the term “backsize” and not “backside”.
Here is the article if you wish to read it.