16 February 2005 20:50 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Carbon Nanotechnologies said Wednesday it has reached a milestone with 30 issued or allowed patents related to the use of small-diameter carbon nanotubes.
The Houston-based company said the milestone reinforces its position as a leading manufacturer and producer of single-wall and other small-diameter carbon nanotubes.
Said company chairman Richard Smalley: “Small-diameter carbon nanotubes provide numerous transforming opportunities and the issuance of these 30 patents provides an extraordinary position” for the company. Smalley, a professor at ?xml:namespace>
“As the use of small-diameter carbon nanotubes is becoming more prominent in everyday applications, it would be difficult to imagine industries that are not likely to be impacted by this technology,” Smalley added.
The company operates a commercial demonstration carbon nanortube plant in Houston. The plant has a capacity of 100 pounds/day and currently operates at a "respectable" level, said Bob Gower, president and chief executive of Carbon Nanotechnology.
"This moves the industry from a giant R&D [research and development] project to a real business," Gower told CNI.
Gower said the nanotechnology industry will eventually grow into a $4bn (Euro3.1bn) market as nano-materials replace more commonplace materials.
Small-diameter nanotubes are large molecules of carbon. They are cylindrical, about 1-3 nanometres (billionths of a metre) in diameter and hundreds to thousands of nanometres long. At their smallest diameter, they are single-wall carbon nanotubes and have tensile strength that is 100 times that of high-strength steel and about one-sixth the density of steel.
Nanotubes conduct electricity and heat and have many applications in products as diverse as electrically-conductive composite materials, high strength fibres, fuel cells, flat-panel displays and electronic and chemical process applications where nanotubes are doped with metals or are used as catalyst supports.
Carbon Nanotechnology said its patents cover an array of application-enabling technology, including process routes considered practical for the production of single-wall and small-diameter carbon nanotubes and critical ways to create and modify single-wall carbon nanotubes.
Carbon Nanotechnology has 500 customers worldwide.
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