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Carbon nanotubes are legendary in their strength -- at least 30 times stronger than bullet-stopping Kevlar by some estimates. When mixed with lightweight polymers such as plastics and epoxy resins, the tiny tubes reinforce the material, like the rebar in a block of concrete, promising lightweight and strong materials for airplanes, spaceships, cars and even sports equipment.

While such carbon nanotube-polymer nanocomposites have attracted enormous interest from the materials research community, a group of scientists now has evidence that a different nanotube -- made from boron nitride -- could offer even more strength per unit of weight. They publish their results in the journal Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing.

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