Headwaters Incorporated Forms Strategic Partnership with Sumitomo Chemical to Commercialize Carbon Nanospheres

Headquarters Incorporated, today announced the formation of a strategic partnership with the Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. for the development and commercialization of carbon nanospheres, a new carbon nano-material.

Sumitomo Chemical (TSE:4005) is one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, with over 24,000 employees and global sales for 2006 exceeding $15 billion. The Company offers a diverse range of products in the fields of basic chemicals, petrochemicals, fine chemicals, IT-related chemicals, agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The carbon nanospheres (CNS) developed by Headwaters, are a new type of hollow, spherical carbon nano-material with a diameter of less than 100 nanometers. Their unique structure gives them many advantages compared to other carbon nano-materials like carbon nanotubes (CNT)(1) and high-performance carbon black (HPCB)(2).

  1. High conductivity - CNS have a unique graphitized(3) multiwalled spherical structure, giving them high electrical conductivity. Therefore, they can be expected to find such applications as antistatic plastic fillers(4). In addition, because of its high conductivity, it can be used as an additive in smaller amounts than conventional HPCB, making it possible to take advantage of the intrinsic strength of plastics.
  2. Surface modification is possible without compromising strength - Unlike CNT, the surface of CNS can be modified without deteriorating the basic structure of CNS or compromising strength or conductivity. This makes it possible to increase its affinity for all types of plastics, enabling plastics containing a uniform CNS composition to be easily obtained.
  3. Simple manufacturing process - Compared with the complex process necessary to manufacture CNT, it is possible to manufacture CNS using a simple and efficient process.

These special characteristics of CNS are expected to open the door to new applications that have until now been unachievable with HPCB and CNT.

Sumitomo Chemical will collaborate with Headwaters to exploit the unique characteristics of CNS to develop applications for this new material. Based on the results of this development, the two companies will work together to launch a commercial business in CNS at the earliest opportunity.

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