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BOC and QinetiQ Nanomaterials form alliance to target growing nanotech market

July 11th, 2002

BOC and QinetiQ Nanomaterials (a subsidiary of QinetiQ, Europe's largest science and technology research organisation) have formed an alliance to develop its nanomaterial production capability.

QinetiQ Nanomaterials was formed at the beginning of this year to concentrate on developing nanomaterials and their applications. This involves the establishment of a facility to manufacture nanomaterials combined with harnessing the extensive expertise held within QinetiQ to deliver complete solutions to potential customers.

BOC will supply QinetiQ Nanomaterials with pure argon, other industrial gases (which are critical to the production process) and a compressed dry air supply scheme to its first production facility. The facility will be commissioned in August 2002 and located at QinetiQ's Farnborough site.

Nanotechnology - which is the extreme miniaturisation of products and materials - is regarded by many as one of today's highest growth markets. It has recently been estimated that the total world market for nanoparticulate materials was $490m in 2000 and is expected to be $900m in 2005, an annual growth of 13% by Business Communications Co. The number of commercial applications for nanotechnology is vast but several of the key applications areas that are already or will be implemented within the next five years include:

  • Drug delivery systems - nanoparticles can determine the chemical reactivity rate, the location and the timing of drugs
  • Anti corrosion coatings - better surface mechanical properties and stability in air are possible
  • Cosmetics and UV protection gels - nanoparticles can influence the flow characteristics and mechanical properties of cosmetics plus the absorption rates of harmful radiation
  • Tailoring the viscosity and thermal expansion properties of lubricants
  • Materials - Composite materials that lighter, stronger, thinner or incorporate other particular requirements can now be engineered

Paul Reip, Managing Director of QinetiQ Nanomaterials said "The capabilities of this technology have been proven, and hold significant promise for the future. This alliance with BOC will help QinetiQ Nanomaterials to achieve its aims of bringing advanced nanomaterials in significant quantities to the market place, and to develop new applications based on those materials."

Ian Spiller, BOC's combustion and development group manager, said "The production process will rely on the highest quality raw materials and BOC has an excellent record for quality and consistency. BOC and QinetiQ Nanomaterials will be looking for opportunities to extend the alliance in future to create a world class and establish nanomaterials as a global reality."

The BOC Group, which serves two million customers in more than 50 countries, is one of the largest and most global of the world's leading gases companies. It employs 43,000 people worldwide and had annual sales of nearly 4.2 billion in 2001. Further information about The BOC Group may be obtained on the Internet at

QinetiQ is Europe's largest science and technology research organisations and incorporates most of the MOD's research, technology and test & evaluation establishments in its heritage. In March 2002, the MOD announced that it would be seeking to find a strategic partner to invest in QinetiQ as a stepping stone to an eventual flotation. This process in now entering the final stages of selection.

For further information, please contact

For BOC - Gary Williams, public relations manager, on (01483) 244515, e-mail

For QinetiQ - Douglas Millard, media relations manager on (01252) 394611, email


BOC is an associate sponsor and official supplier to this summer's QinetiQ 1 attempt to beat the world altitude record for a manned balloon. The company will supply high purity gaseous helium to fill the balloon and high purity breathing oxygen for the pilots - providing 'lift and life' to the mission.


QinetiQ (pronounced ki' ne tik as in 'kinetic energy'), formerly the larger part of DERA (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) incorporates the bulk of the MoD's non-nuclear research, technology and test and evaluation establishments in its heritage. QinetiQ is one of Europe's largest science and technology solutions providers. Among its staff it employs many leading scientists and internationally acclaimed experts. It offers a unique range of services, consultancy advice and test facilities. These include indoor and outdoor ranges for air, land and sea launched weapon effectiveness trials, wind tunnels, underwater target ranges and marine testing facilities, automotive test tracks and climatic testing laboratories.

In July 2000 the Government agreed to a programme that would see the bulk of DERA being set up as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). In July 2001, three-quarters of the agency became the wholly government owned plc, QinetiQ. In March 2002, the MoD announced that it would be seeking to find a strategic partner before the end of the year to invest in QinetiQ as a stepping stone to an eventual flotation in 2 - 4 years' time.

MOD and QinetiQ have worked together to devise a selection process that sets down rigorous criteria for potential bidders. This will ensure that a compatible and suitable partner is found over the coming months that allows QinetiQ the freedoms and independence to maximise its commercial potential, to the benefit of both taxpayers and QinetiQ's future.

As DERA its pioneering research and development last century included the invention of liquid crystal displays (LCDs), carbon fibre, the technology for flat panel speakers, infra-red sensors and microwave radar, as well as Chobham armour, and shaped charges. DERA combined and inherited the technology and expertise from Government defence research sites throughout the UK.

Reprinted with premission. Copyright BOC and QinetiQ

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