Carbon nanotube fibre production with breakthrough

Carbon nanotube fibre production with breakthrough

Researchers at Rice University, Houston, Texas (USA) in collaboration with Teijin Aramid in Arnheim (NL) report a dramatic step forward in the carbon nanotube fibre production: They have successfully spun carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into a “super fibre” having all the strength and high thermal and electrical conductivity of metals but can be robustly handled and processed like regular textile fibres. This is reported by

A 50 meter long spool of the new material consisting of trillions of CNTs in a single filament has been produced. We all know that Teijin’s Aramid fibre is the strongest of the world and its knowhow contribution in the breakthrough of carbon nanotube fibre production has been critical.

Basically the wet spinning method was applied in research and because of the similarity of Twaron, Teijin was interested in a collaboration with the American researchers. Thanks to this involvement of fibre production experts the development of the new fibre has been advancing quicker. In order to spin the fibre, the nanotubes have to be perfectly stacked and aligned in one direction along the fibre axis and this is done by dissolving CNTs in a super acid, followed by wet spinning. This is exactly the patented process applied since the 1970s in the spinning process of Teijin Aramid’s Twaron.  The knowhow is now perfectly fitted for an industrial production of the new material.

Teijin is not only collaborating with Rice University, but also with allied research centres at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

The spectre of interest in the new fibre is already given such as for applications in the medical field, medical doctors and scientists, for instance for surgical purposes and other medical areas. According to Teijin Aramid it will be possible to replace the copper in data cables and light power cables in the aerospace and automotive industries leading to the fact that aircrafts and high end cars will have less weight. It will probably be possible to integrate in the future light weight electronic components, such as antennas, into composites, or replacing cooling systems in electronics where the high thermal conductivity of carbon nanotube fibre will dissipate heat. With selected active customers, Teijin is experimenting small trials with the aim to build up a solid supply chain.

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