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New manufacturing process enables larger production volumes / Bayer MaterialScience plans the industrial marketing of Baytubes®
High-quality carbon nanotubes (CNT) can now be manufactured on
an industrial scale at considerably lower cost than ever before. Bayer
MaterialScience AG plans to market the nano-sized materials worldwide under
the trade name Baytubes. The new process for manufacturing Baytubes was
developed in collaboration with Bayer Technology Services GmbH, a Bayer
Group service company with a wealth of know-how in process technology.
Until now, the high price of up to EUR 1,000.00 per kilogram and the fluctuating production quality prevented more widespread use of nanotubes.
"For the first time, we can achieve consistent material purity of over 99 percent and significantly reduce manufacturing costs," says Martin Schmid, head of the Carbon Nanotubes project at Bayer MaterialScience. "Adding just small quantities of Baytubes can make a plastic car fender so electrically conductive that it can be painted without any further pretreatment, using environmentally friendly waterborne or powder coatings. In a similar manner, we can make films for antistatic packaging materials, such as those used for sophisticated electronic components." Another possibility is the electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding of computer and mobile telephone housings. In the future, CNTs could also improve the thermal conductivity of ceramic components in turbines.
"Baytubes brand carbon nanotubes are multi-walled tubes comprising up to 15 graphite layers. Chemically speaking, the material is identical to pencil lead," says Dr. Sigurd Buchholz, project head at Bayer Technology Services. "The nanotubes have a maximum mean diameter of 50 nanometers, meaning they are more than 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. If one of these tubes were enlarged to the size of a drinking straw, it would be up to 250 meters long." Custom-made CNTs with different diameters, lengths and wall thicknesses can be produced for any application by selecting the corresponding catalyst.
Carbon nanotubes were discovered about 15 years ago and have since turned out to be a highly versatile material thanks to its remarkable properties. It withstands mechanical loads 60 times better than steel at only one-sixth the weight. It conducts heat better than diamond. It is insensitive to heat and, depending on the molecular structure, behaves like an electric conductor or semiconductor. The key to these properties is the molecular structure of the nanotubes: the carbon atoms in the tube wall form a uniform, hexagonal lattice, comparable to a honeycomb. This arrangement lends the tubes very high mechanical strength. If the hexagon edges are aligned parallel to the cylinder axis - like in single-walled nanotubes - the material conducts electricity much better than copper. If they are aligned vertically, the material acts like a semiconductor. Consequently, CNTs are ideally suited for electrodes and high-frequency transistors.
For more information on carbon nanotubes, click here.
News and information about products, applications and services from Bayer MaterialScience AG can be found here.
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in our public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including our Form 20-F). The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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