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Fullerenes have so far failed to realize their commercial potential. This is partly for reasons of cost and partly because it has proven difficult to isolate large quantities of sought-after types. At the beginning of 1994, fullerenes were actively being studied for the following applications: optical devices, hardening agents for carbides, chemical sensors, gas separation devices, thermal insulation, diamonds, batteries, catalysts, hydrogen storage media, polymers and polymer additives, and medical applications.

It has been predicted the first large-scale applications for fullerenes will not be found until manufacturing cost are close to those of aluminum (a few dollars per pound).



Baggott, J. Perfect Symmetry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Fuller, Buckminster. Ideas and Integrities. Toronto: Collier Books, 1963.

Porter, Roy, and Marilyn Ogilvie, eds. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists. Vol. 2, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Stewart, Ian, and Martin Golubitsky. Fearful Symmetry: Is God a Geometer? Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.


Curl, Robert F., and Richard E. Smalley. "Fullerenes." Scientific American (October 1991).

Randall Frost


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Electric arc

—A discharge of electricity through a gas.

Geodesic dome

—A dome constructed of many light, straight structural elements in tension, arranged in a framework of triangles to reduce stress and weight.


—A 20–sided polyhedron.


—Containing carbon atoms, when used in the conventional chemical sense. Originally, the term was used to describe materials of living origin.


—A substance, usually organic, composed of very large molecular chains that consist of recurring structural units.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Boolean algebra to Calcium PropionateBuckminsterfullerene - Production Of Fullerenes, Uses