Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. (CNI) today announced that it has developed an improved form of single-wall carbon nanotubes. The BuckyPearl™ form of single-wall carbon nanotubes can be handled more easily in extruders and other polymer-processing equipment that directly blends single-wall carbon nanotubes with polymers and other materials for a variety of end uses.
“This is a significant advance in the development of carbon nanotechnology,” said Ron Liotta, Senior Vice President of CNI. “BuckyPearl single-wall carbon nanotubes are easier to process, yet retain the extraordinary performance properties of Buckytubes. Several of our industrial partners are testing the material in a variety of applications.”
CNI is currently producing both Buckytube and BuckyPearl single-wall carbon nanotubes in a pilot plant at the company’s headquarters in Houston. BuckyPearl single-wall carbon nanotubes are produced through an additional processing step following the production of conventional Buckytubes.
Both Buckytube and BuckyPearl single-wall carbon nanotubes are perfect molecular structures at the atomic level that conduct electricity better than copper, conduct heat better than diamonds, have tensile strength 100 times the strength of steel, and provide unprecedented stiffness, strength, and toughness, yet are lightweight. They have the potential to revolutionize polymers, electronics, medicine and many other industries.
As produced, Buckytubes are very light and self-adhering, which can make the material difficult to process in certain applications. BuckyPearl single-wall carbon nanotubes, in contrast, are compact beads 2 to 4 millimetres in diameter with a bulk density about 40 times that of conventional Buckytubes.
In addition to making them easier to process, the increased density of BuckyPearl single-wall carbon nanotubes makes it very unlikely for the material to become airborne during transport and handling, thereby improving the safety and environmentally friendly aspects of the material.