Bayer MaterialScience and Nanoledge Join Forces

During the JEC Composites Show, taking place from April 3rd to April 5th in Paris, Bayer MaterialScience, one of the world's leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics and Nanoledge, the European leader in the design of industrial standard nanotube-based materials, introduced two innovative Nanotechnology applications in preview to the public: A surfboard and skis.

In line with this year's motto of the JEC Composites Show "Together, composing the future of composites", Bayer MaterialScience and Nanoledge, both experts in their respective fields, teamed up to create these new and improved sports applications. Nanoledge's "NANO IN®" technology combined with Bayer MaterialScience's high performance Carbon Nanotubes Baytubes® were the key to success: Refined with Baytubes®, the specific epoxy resin achieves extraordinary and never equalized mechanical and thermal properties in the resulting composite. Not only are the end products by far lighter and more resistant, their life cycle is also extended. "Working with Bayer MaterialScience for the realization of these applications has been a real opportunity for Nanoledge. The exceptional technical properties of Bayer MaterialScience's Baytubes® contribute intrinsically to the improvement of these sporting goods' performances," said Franck Bennardi, CEO of Nanoledge.

Unique through their structure and their shape, Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) feature outstanding properties: They might only have a quarter of the mass of steel, but they are 5 times stronger when subjected to mechanical loads. In addition, their electrical conductivity is equivalent to that of cooper and their thermal conductivity is very high. Therefore, when they are filled in an epoxy resin, the composite becomes 50% more solid and 50 to 100% more resistant. No wonder epoxy is gaining traction with surfboard makers – after all, surfers all over the world are looking for a board that has the proper flexural response, low weight, and durability, altogether enabling them to catch their perfect surf breaks.

Originally made of solid wood and up to 12 feet long and up to 45 kg heavy, most modern surfboards are made of polyurethane/polyester systems. The new surfboard was co-developed by Nanoledge and California-based sporting goods company Entropy Research Labs (ERL) that develops and applies exotic materials into high-end, performance action sports equipment. Their testing grounds for the new product: Heavy Ocean Beach, San Francisco. "No surfboard is indestructible, but you can make it last longer", Desi Banatao from ERL explained. "Surfboards will undergo a major shift in both material systems and construction in the next 5 to 10 years. In terms of the materials systems epoxies are definitely going to play a huge role in how it plays out, and if CNTs can deliver in making these epoxies better, then they could potentially have a huge effect."

The skis containing Baytubes® resulted from a partnership between Nanoledge and Axunn. Located in Chamrousse, France, Axunn develops and commercializes new concepts for sports equipments, featuring innovative technology, design, and comfort. These skis containing Nanoledge's product NANO IN RES are more solid, and more resistant to shocks.

"One of our main objectives is the close cooperation with our customers. We share our product know-how with our customers, thereby supporting them in developing new, interesting applications", explains Martin Schmid, who is responsible for the expansion of the global Baytubes® business at Bayer MaterialScience. "We are very pleased to be able to present two new sports applications that are enriched with our Baytubes®. This shows that Carbon Nanotubes are a very promising product with enormous potential for a wide variety of future applications, ranging from lighter, longer and thus more efficient rotor blades for wind turbine plants to the automotive industry, where the use of Baytubes® in plastics can avoid the need for expensive production steps by eliminating conductive primers." and

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