An earlier Idea of mine considered using the smallest possible
size of carbon nanotubes, and I talked about the 6-atom
molecular ring of benzene as a model. See the first link.
However, one of the annotations indicated that actual
nanotubes are rather larger-circumference than six carbon
then, perhaps we need a different way of making
nanotubes. Thus this Idea, which is intended to start with
actual benzene molecules. See the "benzene" link for a model of
how the molecule is constructed, with 6 carbon atoms forming
the ring, and 6 hydrogen atoms attached to the ring.
What we would LIKE to do starts with a 2nd benzene molecule,
"stacked" above the first. Imagine that three of the hydrogen
atoms are removed from each molecule, and the three
unconnected bonds of carbon atoms in the lower benzene ring
are attached to the three unconnected bonds of carbon atoms in
the the upper benzene ring.
Another ring we could imagine adding by stacking another
benzene molecule, and removing 3 and 3 hydrogens, and
connecting the carbons as before. The middle benzene ring has
now lost all its hydrogens, but connects to the upper ring with
three bonds, and connects to the lower ring with three bonds.
Imagine we keep adding rings and connections, as before, to
make however-long a nanotube that we might want. However,
in actuality THAT idea can't be done! There is a limit to how
much the natural "bond angles" of atoms can be bent, in forming
complex molecules, and the above imaginings, for any middle
benzene ring in the sequence, exceed that limit. Look at that
linked image again, thinking about connecting stacked adjacent
using the bonds normally connected to hydrogens, to see what
I'm talking about.
We need a different way to connect those rings together. One
alternative would ignore the hydrogens, and consider the
double-bonds in the ring. if they were broken, we could maybe
use those bonds to connect the rings (3 connections between
rings, as before).
However, that notion eliminates a prime feature of carbon
nanotubes, which is the fact that double-bonds allow the tube to
conduct electricity --and if we break them to create the tube,
then we will lose that conductivity property.
So now we come to the reason why the first word in the title of
this Idea is "oxygenated". Oxygen typically has two chemical
bonds available, and here we could "simply" replace two
hydrogens with one oxygen (three times), to connect an
adjacent pair of benzene rings. That would distort the carbon
bond-angles much less than mentioned in the first part of this
Idea, likely enough for an actual oxygenated benzene nanotube
to be able to exist in reality.
The exact details of accomplishing that construction still need
to be worked out, of course, which is why this Idea is Half-
Baked. For starters, though, we could imagine replacing all
the hydrogens with "hydroxyl" groups (an oxygen connected to
There is a well-known process ("dehydration synthesis") by
which two separate molecules
combine, each starting out with a hydroxyl group, such that
oxygen then connects the two molecules, while the other
oxygen and the two hydrogens depart together as a single water
molecule. Here, a "hard part" would consist of getting exactly
3 hydroxyl groups on one of the benzene rings to combine with 3
hydroxyl groups on an adjacent ring.
Perhaps we should start with only 3 hydroxyl groups on one ring.
We KNOW that at the end of an overall nanotube only 3
connections will exist, so we need a molecule that can be called
a "cap". For that particular benzene molecule, we replace 3
hydrogens with hydroxyl groups, and the other 3 hydrogens with
Now when that molecule is reacted with a fully hydroxylated
benzene ring, only 3 connections between the two rings will be
possible. When THAT two-ring construction is reacted with
another fully hydroxylated benzene ring, only 3 connections will
be possible. And so on...for as many rings as we care to add, to
create an overall oxygenated benzene nanotube. At the very
end we replace the last 3 hydroxyls with 3 more fluorine atoms.