CNTs combine Flexibility with Thermal and Electrical Conductivity

February 09, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Lintec of America announced an exclusive license to commercialize novel fabrication methods for carbon nanotube (CNT) macrostructures, including sheets, yarns and ribbons, developed at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Leveraging the industrial resources of the global Lintec Group, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Lintec of America is forming the Nano-Science and Technology Center (NSTC) in Richardson, TX, focusing on scaling up the manufacturing and commercialization of nano engineered applications.

"Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have the potential to spark the next industrial revolution", said Kanzan Inoue, Lintec NSTC Managing Director. "Among the strongest and most thermally conductive materials discovered to date, CNTs are stronger than metal and more thermally conductive than diamond. However, applying CNTs into practical applications requires fast and controllable processing methods capable of retaining the unique properties of individual CNTs in large areas and volumes."

Inoue added that a critical factor for controllable device fabrication is the ability to assemble CNTs in different forms, such as freestanding, rolled, or deposited onto a substrate. "The technology created at UTD, and trademarked by Lintec as DryDrawâ„¢ and cSilkâ„¢, delivers an efficient and elegant solution to these key issues." Inoue said. "It enables applications requiring strong, yet lightweight materials, which combine thermal and electrical conductivity, transparency, uniformity, purity and flexibility."

"The fabrication process which we licensed to Lintec, retains CNTs' extraordinary properties, generating endless possibilities for high value applications", said Ray Baughman, Director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas. "Examples include structural composites for aerospace and automobile sectors, flexible electronics, chem/biosensors, transparent conductive films, organic light emitting diodes, energy harvesting and storage, smart nano adhesives, battlefield dressings, EMI shielding, and others. Recent research demonstrates promise for an expanding range of applications, from aerial and underwater sound projectors, to lightweight biocompatible materials for biomedical solutions."

cSilkâ„¢ CNT sheets are transparent, flexible, thin, pure, and lighter than air. Highly anisotropic and multifunctional, cSilkâ„¢ sheets can be twisted into yarns, kept freestanding, or transferred onto a substrate. Novel multifunctional materials and composites can be created, utilizing cSilkâ„¢ as a substrate for depositing a multitude of otherwise difficult to process micro and nanoparticles.

"Lintec has expertise in technologies that will be critically important for economically manufacturing carbon nanotube sheets and converting these sheets into a wide range of products," Baughman adds. "They invested in UTD's technology because they saw potential for valuable end products and because their highly-developed roll-to-roll manufacturing capabilities are particularly well-suited for up scaling the production of these materials to industrial levels."

"Whether creating novel materials with advanced properties, or revolutionizing a process, DryDrawâ„¢ and cSilkâ„¢ can transform multiple industries," Inoue said. "Our robust and versatile technology offers unlimited possibilities to transform or create any material, structure or system benefiting from being, lighter, stronger, multifunctional and smarter."