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A boron tube is a pressure gauge. When a Bourdon tube is pressurised, it deflects from its relaxed, circular shape. This deflection can be converted into a rotary movement by attaching a pointer to the coiled end of the tube and making it move around an internal dial or face. When the pressure drops, the helix returns to its relaxed position. The movement of the helix is directly proportional to the amount of pressure and is therefore an excellent way of measuring pressure.
Standard Bourdon tubes can be used for liquids or gaseous media that do not attack the copper alloy parts, and are able to measure up to 28,000 kPa. For higher pressures, there are spiral- and helical-type Bourdon tubes available.
In the 1980s, the discovery of fullerenes—cage-like structures of carbon atoms, including carbon-60, known as the buckyball—revolutionised our understanding of carbon nanotechnology and led to a range of applications such as composite additives, field emitters, and transparent conductive films. More recently, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have shown promise as a material for building items with fascinating electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. Boron doping into CNTs makes them even more functional and offers the potential to build new electronic devices such as transistors.
A boron tube is manufactured by depositing elemental boron onto a fine tungsten wire substrate, which is then rolled into a helix. The helix can have anywhere from two or three turns to twenty turns. The more windings a helix has, the greater its pressure sensitivity.