UK's Thomas Swan achieves carbon nanotubes certification; investigates new fibre process

13 January 2005 12:43  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (CNI--UK based performance chemicals company Thomas Swan said on Thursday it had been certified as an approved supplier of carbon nanotubes by Zyvex Corporation of the US.


Zyvex, a company that is supplying affordable nanotechnology tools, products, and services worldwide, has a strict supply chain certification programme.


Thomas Swan looks on the approval as an important achievement in the absence of any official quality standards in the carbon nanomaterials industry. Zyvex’s certification programme verifies quality and consistency of commercially available carbon nanotubes using “market accepted” analytical techniques.


Thomas Swan began commercial production of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) in April 2004, developing a process from the University of Cambridge. One of the few commercial suppliers of the material, it is capable of manufacturing over 2 kilogram of purified single-wall carbon nanotubes per month . They are sold under the trade name Elicarb SW.


Harry Swan, nanomaterials business manager at the company, told CNI that Swan’s focus since the launch of Elicarb SW had been on quality and consistent supply. Markets for the material are building, he suggested, although currently most customers are involved with industrial research and development (R&D).


Consultants suggest that the global production capacity for single walled carbon nanotubes currently is about 9 tonne although production is thought to be well below that level. Most customers tend to buy 100 gram quantities of the material for evaluation purposes.


Swan, who is son of the company's chairman, said it is primarily interested in providing carbon nanotubes as a raw material, without intellectual property constraints. The material is finding use in a range of industrial and academic applications from advanced composites for the aerospace industry to improved catalyst supports for fuel cells.


The company produces single-walled carbon nanotubes at its Consett plant in Northeast England and is investigating its multi-walled carbon nanotube capabilities from the same facility. The two materials tend to find use in different nanotechnology applications.


Working with the University of Cambridge, the company is hoping to secure UK government funding for further research into a vapour deposition process for the continuous production of a 100% multi-walled carbon nanotube fibre, Harry Swan said.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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