The Carbon Nanotube Race Accelerates

DN Staff

December 2, 2009

2 Min Read
The Carbon Nanotube Race Accelerates

The race to build carbonnanotube capacity accelerated as Nanocyl announced plans to build a reactorwith a capacity of 400 metric tons/year for producing carbon nanotubes (CNTs)in Sambreville, Belgium. The new plant will almostdouble global capacity to produce carbon nanotubes.
"We have successfully scaled up our carbon nanotubeproduction technology." said Francis Massin, CEO of Nanocyl. "This new unitwill complement the existing reactor that we have already up scaled to 60metric tons/year. Thanks to these capacity increases, we will be able tosupport the rapidly growing demand of our customers."
The new Nanocyl reactor unit will also complement a 3,000tons/year extrusion line installed in 2009 that produces PLASTICYLthermoplastic concentrates for new applications requiring electricalconductivity and protection from electrostatic discharge (ESD). According toMassin, Nanocyl also added the capability in September to compound hightemperature thermoplastics, such as PEEK, to address the demands of thesemiconductor industry for CNTs that also must be chemical resistant.
Carbon nanotubes are used as reinforcements in polymers toboost mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. They are described as thestrongest and stiffest materials available in terms of tensile strength andelastic modulus, respectively. BCC Research forecasts that globalsales of carbon nanotube reinforced plastics will grow at an average annualgrowth rate exceeding 55 percent over the next five years forelectrical/electronic, transportation, structural and other applications.
Efficient Transistors
Because of their unique electrical properties, CNTs areexpected to play a critical role in miniaturizing electronics. It's possible tomake transistors basedon carbon nanotubes that operate at room temperature and can function as adigital switch using a single electron. One unique proposal for carbonnanotubes is the construction of a space elevator in whichcomposites would climb a ribbon strung from Earth to a counterweight in space.
One of the first applications for CNTs is a fuel filterproduced by Bosch for the Audi A4 made from Ultraform N2320 C polyacetal. The filterhas a high level of electric conductivity without much of a decrease intoughness.
The new capacity, due to come online in 2010, will makeNanocyl the largest producer of CNTs. At least three other companies, however,are also expected to dramatically boost capacity. They are Bayer, Showa Denkaand Arkema.
Nanocyl S.A.,established in 2002, is a leading global manufacturer of specialty andindustrial carbon nanotubes. Nanocyl is headquartered in Belgium, has a division in Atlantaand is opening a subsidiary in Korea.

One of the early applications for a carbon nanotube composite is a fuel filter for the Audi A4. Photo:  BASF

The Carbon Nanotube Race Accelerates A

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