Spinning process key to CNT fibre breakthrough

Using a spinning process, researchers at Teijin Aramid, based in the Netherlands, and Rice University in the US have innovated a carbon nanotube (CNT) super fibre that has very high thermal and electrical conductivity and good textile performance. CNTs, the building blocks of the fibre, which is as thin as a strand of DNA, combine the best properties of thermal and electrical conductivity, strength, modulus and flexibility.

The CNT fibres are targeted for the aerospace, automotive and (smart) clothing industries as well as the medical field where medical doctors and scientists are exploring the possibilities to use CNT fibre in surgical operations and other applications.

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 fibres in a range of commercial or industrial products.

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.

The firm is currently trialing samples of CNT fibre 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, aramid fibres and polyethylene tape, this new CNT fibre is expected to allow Teijin to offer customers an even broader portfolio of high performance materials.


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