Advances in High-Tensile Strength Materials for Space Elevator Applications

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M. R. Haase (2016), JBIS, 69, pp.220-226

Refcode: 2016.69.220
Keywords: Space Elevator, Nanomaterials, High Strength Materials, Carbon Nanotubes

Construction of a space elevator requires several engineering and scientific advancements. Of these, perhaps none is more critical than the development of materials with a high specific strength. Practical elevator tethers in particular require significant advancement of such materials over what is currently commercially available. Other space elevator systems, such as climber design, are heavily impacted by material strength. These systems may not require novel strong materials, but can certainly benefit from them. Here, recent developments in high strength materials are reviewed. Promising material families are identified, and their theoretical and empirical properties compared. This literature is used to estimate and discuss how long it will be until these materials will have the requisite strength for a space elevator tether. Consideration is also given to commercial viability, and to the likely form of a commercially viable material appropriate for a space elevator tether.

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