Carbon nanotubes have extraordinary electrical conductivity properties. They are probably the best electron field-emitter possible. This is understandable, given their high electrical conductivity, and the unbeatable sharpness of their tip. The sharpness of the tip also means that they emit at especially low voltage, an important fact for building electrical devices that utilize this feature.
The idea of building electronic circuits out of the essential building blocks of materials - molecules - has seen a revival the past five years, and is a key component of nanotechnology. In any electronic circuit, but particularly as dimensions shrink to the nanoscale, the interconnections between switches and other active devices become increasingly important. Their geometry, electrical conductivity, and ability to be precisely derived, make carbon nanotubes the ideal candidates for the connections in molecular electronics.
Very significantly, carbon nanotubes are molecularly perfect, which means that they are free of property-degrading flaws in the nanotube structure. Thanks to their material properties they can therefore be used in a large range of applications.
Applications and Nanocyl solutions
Carbon nanotubes can be seen as nanowires transporting electricity and thermal energy through the matrix in which they are embedded.
An immediate application of this behaviour receiving considerable interest is in field-emission flat-panel displays. Other applications utilising the field-emission characteristics of Nanocyl carbon nanotubes include: general cold-cathode lighting sources, lightning arrestors, and electron microscope sources.
Nanocyl carbon nanotubes are also ideal as conductive fillers for plastics materials. These have made tremendous headway for structural applications, but not where electrical conductivity is required, plastics being famously good electrical insulators.
This deficiency is overcome by loading plastics up with conductive fillers, such as carbon black and graphite fibres. It is well established that the higher aspect ratio of filler, the lower loading required for achieving a given level of conductivity. A lower loading for an additive, in the case of polymer composites can offer several advantages such as better process ability, surface smoothness, lower contamination and improvement of the mechanical properties. Carbon nanotubes are ideal in this sense, since they have the highest aspect ratio of any carbon fibre.
Applications that exploit this behaviour of Nanocyl carbon nanotubes include shielding composites and coatings for enclosures, gaskets, and other uses; electrostatic dissipation and antistatic materials and coatings; and radar-absorbing materials.
Nanocyl products can meet various specifications for electrical conductivity in different systems of resins and applications. And besides improving electrical conductivity, carbon nanotubes of Nanocyl can also increase the thermal conductivity.