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Posted: Apr 15, 2011
New project to develop continuous flow process for separating and sorting carbon nanotubes
(Nanowerk News) Archimedes Polymer Technologies (UK Ltd) and Brunel University, London have secured Technology Strategy Board Funding (TSB) to develop a new continuous flow process for separating and sorting commercially available carbon nanotubes and carbon nanomaterials.
Developing an effective process for the separating and sorting of carbon nanomaterials will offer industry new cost-effective manufacturing techniques, high value-added materials and end-user products.
Carbon nanomaterials are one of the most commercially relevant classes of nanomaterials, potentially having the broadest range of applications from composites to consumer mass electronics, energy storage, membranes, healthcare and toxicity assessments. For high-value applications, high-purity and uniform carbon nanotubes are essential.
This project aims to prove the concept and efficiency of a flow process for separation and sorting of carbon nanotube products using a variable force field generated by a novel centrifuge, providing continuous parameter controlled, highly efficient mixing, separation and extraction.
Dr Wenhui Song, from Brunel's Wolfson Centre for Materials Processing, explains the challenges that this process will address: "Most commercial products inevitably consist of nanotubes in a range of sizes and contaminated by-products.
"The size-shape-chirality polydispersity and purity of the nanotubes is a major technical barrier limited their potential application in high-value markets. Another major commercial barrier is significant concerns about the potential asbestos-like toxicity of high-aspect ratio nanostructures, which will be combated by this novel technique."
Chris Price, Managing Director of APT said: "We are delighted to lead this research project and provide carbon nanotubes and other nanomaterials for novel processing. This will be the start of a long-term relationship with Brunel University that will ultimately benefit the healthcare market through nano-biosensors and nano-medicine development."
The project will be lead by Dr Wenhui Song, in collaboration with Archimedes Polymer Technologies, and Dr Svetlana Ignatova and Professor Ian Sutherland from the Advanced Bioprocessing Centre at Brunel University.
Archimedes Polymer Technologies is an innovative SME working in the area of carbon nanomaterials, polymers and composites.