Carbon Composite Armours are those that utilise one or more forms of Carbon nanotube or buckeyballs in their construction.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon with a nanostructure that can have a length-to-diameter ratio greater than 10,000,000 and as high as 10,000,000,000. These cylindrical carbon molecules have novel properties that make them useful in many applications in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science.
They exhibit extraordinary strength and unique electrical properties, and are efficient conductors of heat.
Nanotubes are members of the fullerene structural family, which also includes the spherical buckyballs. The cylindrical nanotube usually has at least one end capped with a hemisphere of the buckyball structure.
The nature of the bonding of a nanotube is described by applied quantum chemistry, specifically, orbital hybridization. The chemical bonding of nanotubes is composed entirely of sp2 bonds, similar to those of graphite. This bonding structure, which is stronger than the sp3 bonds found in diamonds, provides the molecules with their unique strength. Nanotubes naturally align themselves into “ropes” held together by Van der Waals forces. Under high pressure, nanotubes can merge together, trading some sp² bonds for sp³ bonds, producing strong, unlimited-length wires through high-pressure nanotube linking.
All nanotubes are very good thermal conductors along the tube, exhibiting a property known as “ballistic conduction,” but good insulators laterally to the tube axis. They are able to transmit up to 6000 watts per meter per Kelvin at room temperature and the temperature stability of carbon nanotubes is up to 2800 degrees Celsius in vacuum and about 750 degrees Celsius in air.
All this means that you can produce lightweight heat, kinetic and chemical resistant armour with thermal-dumping properties and combine it with MIB technology – the result is a range of armours that are truly exceptional and extremely effective.
The downside to these armours is that through usage and exposure to combat they shed nanotubes that are extremely carcinogenic and therefore require troops who regularly use them to be treated with extremely expensive anti-cancer treatments.
Such armours are often sealed in other materials to help prevent “casual shedding” but when this layer is ablated through combat they should ideally replaced or recoated. The upshot of this is a very high TQ requirement that limits their casual usage to GoT forces and high-TQ environments…unless the user is less concerned over long-term possible cancer than death via kinetic shock.
The use of carbon nanotubules goes back to the early 21st century where, by around 2008, they had been transformed from fantastically expensive, almost fictional items, into a cheap material that was used by modellers in the hobby world. Their use is therefore not especially restricted to high-TQ and very strong basic armours can be made using them from as low as TQ-2 habitats.