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News

Expanding carbon nanotube manufacturing capacity

Tortech Nano Fibers (Plasan Sasa) : 21 October, 2014  (Company News)
Tortech Nanofibres, a subsidiary of Plasan based in Israel, is installing additional capacity for the manufacture of its non-woven carbon nanotube (CNT) sheet at its manufacturing facility. This will more than triple output, once full commissioning is completed in the next few months and is seen as an important step towards a full scale industrial manufacturing capability.
A key element of the scale-up activities is the development of a robust and rigorous chemical engineering process that when complete will produce unique material that will be cost competitive with conventional carbon fibre materials.
 
Customers of Tortech's nonwoven CNT sheet have utilised this novel material and its unique combination of properties to develop products which are particularly useful in all market sectors. Non-woven CNT sheet has a high resistance to mechanical stress while also possessing properties such as electrical conductivity, high EMI attenuation, black body radiation and IR suppression.
 
Professor Alan Windle and Dr. Martin Pick, who spun out Q-Flo in 2004, developed a process that winds fibre from an "elastic smoke" consisting of floating carbon nanotubes. The smoke is created by growing carbon nanotubes on tiny floating iron catalysts inside a reactor. This smoke can then be wound up into a continuous fibre using Q-Flo’s specially designed machine. While the material’s axial strength and stiffness is in the range of conventional carbon fibre, its toughness exceeds Kevlar by three times, and at the same time it is also lighter in weight. Its yarn-like nature also means that it can be successfully woven into the matrix resin of composites
 
Tortech's non-woven CNT sheet is suited for the increasing demands of EMI shielding. Tortech material demonstrates an exceptional degree of attenuation of 90dB across a wide frequency range from 20 to 20,000MHz, compared with more traditional materials such as aluminium. Tortech's material is also significantly lighter in weight and possesses heat dissipation properties.
 
IR heat signature suppression is another attribute of Tortech's non-woven CNT sheet. The material behaves as an almost complete black body. High heat flux - up to 450C - can be applied to one side of a sheet with no "see through" of the thermal impact on the other side, despite the sheet being only 50 microns thick and weighing approximately 10 grams per square metre. This property enables stealth and thermal camouflage applications for airborne and ground vehicle platforms.
 
When incorporated into composites as an interlayer, Tortech's non-woven CNT sheet adds flexural strength and toughness to otherwise brittle carbon fibre (CF). The resulting composite has been shown to have more than double the breaking strain compared with more heavily loaded CF composites.
 
The properties of Tortech's CNT sheet can be tailored to meet the requirements of demanding markets and customer applications.
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