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Twaron spinning process is key to carbon nanotube fiber breakthrough

11 January 2013

Groundbreaking scientific research has been published on carbon nanotube fiber with high thermal and electrical conductivity.


Arnhem, January 11, 2013 – Researchers at Teijin Aramid, based in the Netherlands, and Rice University in the USA today published their research findings on a new generation of super fibers in the leading scientific journal, Science. For the first time in history, it has been possible to spin carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into a super fiber that has very high thermal and electrical conductivity and good textile performance. Carbon nanotubes, the building blocks of the fiber, which is as thin as a strand of DNA, combine the best properties of thermal and electrical conductivity, strength, modulus and flexibility.

For several years, leading researchers at Rice University, including Nobel prize winner Richard Smalley (Chemistry, 1996), along with researchers at Teijin Aramid, have been working on producing carbon nanotubes and forming them into useful macroscopic objects with extraordinary, new performance properties. To spin a high-performance carbon nanotube textile thread (fiber), the nanotubes must be perfectly stacked and orientated along the fiber axis. The most efficient method to produce this high performance  fiber is to dissolve CNTs in a super acid, followed by wet-spinning. This is a patented process which has been used since the 1970s in spinning Teijin Aramid’s Twaron super fiber.

“Our carbon nanotube fibers combine high thermal and electrical conductivity, like that seen in metals, with the flexibility, robust handling and strength of textile fibers”, explained Marcin Otto, Business Development Manager at Teijin Aramid. “With that novel combination of properties it is possible to use CNT fibers in many applications in the aerospace, automotive, medical and (smart) clothing industries.”

Teijin’s cooperation and involvement was crucial to the project. Twaron technology enabled improved performance, and an industrially scalable production method. That makes it possible to find applications for CNT fibers in a range of commercial or industrial products. “This research and ongoing tests offer us a glimpse into the potential future possibilities of this new fiber. For example, we have been very excited by the interest of innovative medical doctors and scientists exploring the possibilities to use CNT fiber in surgical operations and other applications in the medical field”, says Marcin Otto. Teijin Aramid expects to replace the copper in data cables and light power cables used in the aerospace and automotive industries, to make aircraft and high end cars lighter and more robust at the same time. Other applications could include integrating light weight electronic components, such as antennas, into composites, or replacing cooling systems in electronics where the high thermal conductivity of carbon nanotube fiber can help to dissipate heat.

Teijin Aramid is currently trialing samples of CNT fiber on a small scale with the most active prospective customers. Building up a robust supply chain is high on the project team’s list of priorities. As well as their carbon fiber, aramid fiber and polyethylene tape, this new carbon nanotube fiber is expected to allow Teijin to offer customers an even broader portfolio of high performance materials.

Teijin Aramid is running this project in collaboration with research groups led by Professor Matteo Pasquali and Professor Jun Kono at RiceUniversity(Houston,USA) and allied research centers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa,Israel) and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (Dayton,USA). This ideal combination of effective experimental skills, knowledge and expertise makes this a winning team. The research was funded byTeijin Aramid BVand its parent company, Teijin Limited.


CAPTION: Graduate student Dmitri Tsentalovich prepares to use an experimental carbon nanotube fiber-spinning apparatus at Rice University.
CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University


CAPTION: Rice engineering professor Matteo Pasquali (seated) led a team that created a pure carbon nanotube fiber that combines the best features of metal wires, carbon fibers and textile thread. The team included (left to right) Rice graduate students Colin Young and Dmitri Tsentalovich, Teijin Aramid scientist Ron ter Waarbeek and Rice graduate student Mohammed Adnan.
CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

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About Teijin

Teijin Aramid is a subsidiary of the Teijin Group and the world leader in aramid fibers. Renowned for their strength, sustainability, safety, heat resistance and low weight, Twaron®, Sulfron®, Teijinconex® and Technora® can be found worldwide in different applications and markets including automotive, ballistic protection, marine, civil engineering, protective clothing, optical fiber cables, and oil and gas. The four high-performance aramid fibers are produced in the Netherlands and Japan. For more information visit www.teijinaramid.com.

Teijin (TSE 3401) is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the areas of sustainable transportation, information and electronics, safety and protection, environment and energy, and healthcare. Its main fields of operation are high-performance fibers such as aramid, carbon fibers & composites, healthcare, films, resin & plastic processing, polyester fibers, products converting and IT. The group has some 150 companies and around 17,000 employees spread out over 20 countries worldwide. It posted consolidated sales of JPY 854.4 billion (USD 9.9 billion) and total assets of JPY 762.1 billion (USD 8.8 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. Please visit www.teijin.co.jp/english.

For more information on the new carbon nanotube fiber:

VIDEO is available at:
http://youtu.be/4XDJC64tDR0

Saskia Verhoeven, Manager of Corporate & Marketing Communication
Teijin Aramid BV
T: +31 88 26 89 068
E-mail: saskia.verhoeven@teijinaramid.com
www.teijinaramid.com

Saskia VerhoevenManager Corporate & Marketing Communication
Mrs. Saskia Verhoeven
+31 882 689 068
saskia.verhoeven
teijinaramid
com
Email