Current studies of carbon nanotubes have enabled both new electronic applications and improvements to the performance of existing ones. Manufacturing of macroscopic electronic components with this material generally involves the use of printed electronic methods, which must use carbon nanotube (CNT) powders. However, in recent years, it has been shown that the use of ready-made self-standing macroscopic CNT assemblies could have considerable potential in the future development of electronic components. Two examples of these are spun carbon nanotube fibers and CNT films. The following paper considers whether these spun materials may replace printed electronic CNT elements in all applications. To enable the investigation of this question some practical experiments were undertaken. They included the formation of smart textile elements, flexible and transparent components, and structural electronic devices. By taking this approach it has been possible to show that CNT fibres and films are highly versatile materials that may improve the electrical and mechanical performance of many currently produced printed electronic elements. Additionally, the use of these spun materials may enable many new applications and functionalities particularly in the area of e-textiles. However, as with every new technology, it has its limitations, and these are also considered.
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