The goal of a McKendree cylinder is to achieve a larger radius than an O'Neill cylinder by using suitable very strong carbon allotropes instead of steel. The most obvious way to do this is to build a single very large carbon tube, at which point the prefix nano-, always present in discussion of McKendree cylinders, is clearly inappropriate. Besides, it's unclear we'd ever be able to scale up CVD that much. So I'm guessing the actual proposal is to combine a very large number of CNTs to make the full cylinder. (However, I've found no sources explaining this in detail.) With what geometry would they be so combined? For example:

  1. Would tubes whose axes are radial from the standpoint of the final cylinder be packed together, with their cross sections packed across both dimensions of its surface area?
  2. Would the tubes' axes be parallel to the cylinder's axis, so CNTs need to join or attract at their ends to achieve the desired cylinder length?
  3. Or, since that second idea doesn't explain how such very long strands hold together around the cylinder's circumference, would the cylinder's surface comprise tubes running in two orthogonal directions, one of them axial?

I'm not sure which of these would best exploit CNTs' strength, or which is feasible given what the intermolecular forces can or can't do to hold CNTs together.



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