Bayer Material Science is attaching it's future firmly to nanotechnology as shown at the NanoTech fair in Tokyo last week. Bayer's focus was on their Baytubes® carbon nanotubes (CNTs). BayTubes were developed through a collaboration between Bayer Technology Services and Bayer Material Science in order to develop a cost-effective production process for CNTs that paves the way for their industrial application.
The future of the material sciences is closely linked to nanotechnology. “The main purpose of our appearance here in Tokyo is to communicate the truly remarkable possibilities of Baytubes® to a broad professional audience,” explains Martin Schmid, head of the new Baytubes® operations at Bayer MaterialScience. “For example, they make plastics not only electrically conductive, but also very stable and strong. At the same time however, the material remains extremely lightweight.” These improved properties are already being put to use today in the production of various sports goods, such as ski poles and baseball bats. Carbon nanotubes are also in great demand as electrically conductive additives for the manufacture of antistatic packaging used to pack sensitive electronic components, for example. “The potential is enormous and the Asian market is very important for nanotechnology,” observes Schmid. “With investments totaling US$ 2.7 billion in 2005, Japan ranks number two in the world behind the United States. Research and development are given top priority in Japan. Considering this it is no wonder that Japanese researchers like Dr. Sumio Iijima have made key contributions to the discovery and characterization of the CNT class of materials. We want to take advantage of NanoTech and stage a constructive exchange of ideas on new fields of application for our Baytubes®.”
Another example of current research activity at Bayer MaterialScience is the study of highly functional, UV-resistant carbosiloxane crosslinkers. Sol-gel technology helps to obtain highly crosslinked, nanoparticulate coatings that are extremely scratch-, weather- and chemical-resistant, as well as anti-adhesive. The crosslinkers could be used in hard coat systems for plastic parts, in automotive clear coats to protect against bird droppings and scratches, or in anti-graffiti paints. Bayer MaterialScience already has a nanomaterial for sale on the market: the Dispercoll® S line of silica dispersions. They serve as formulation components for one-component, water-borne polychloroprene (Dispercoll® C) dispersion adhesives, which are an environmentally friendly alternative to solvent-borne adhesives and can be used, for example, for bonding floor coverings, shoes and foams. Similarly, a new generation of flame-retardant Bayblend® FR polycarbonate/ABS blends is now commercially available. Their improved fire performance is based on special oxidic nanoparticles combined with other additives, which together promote the formation of flame-retardant carbon deposits on the surface of a plastic in the event of fire. The application potential is considerable, particularly in housing components for the household appliance, entertainment electronics and information technology industries.