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Posted: February 18, 2009
Baytubes for Improved Energy Efficiency and CO2 Balance
(Nanowerk News) At the "Nanotech 2009" in Tokyo, under the
motto "The Future is Nano", Bayer MaterialScience AG will showcase a number
of technical innovations based on its product Baytubes® (carbon nanotubes,
CNTs). The spotlight will be on a number of new industrial applications
featuring Baytubes® that have been developed in collaboration with some of
Bayer MaterialScience's partners for the chemical, mechanical engineering,
sports goods and electrical/electronics industries.
"Based on the example
of a new CNT-reinforced aluminum powder and rotor blades for wind turbines,
we want to demonstrate in Tokyo the tremendous possibilities our carbon
nanotubes open up, for example, in the field of lightweight construction,"
explained the head of the global Baytubes® business, Martin Schmid, in
advance of the world's largest and most important trade fair for
nanotechnology. "Weight reduction," he added, "results in much improved
energy efficiency and a better CO2 balance".
Reinforced composite materials based on Baytubes® and aluminum powder offer
entirely new design opportunities in lightweight construction. For example,
CNT components have much higher mechanical strength, which, in turn, means
they can be produced with much thinner walls and therefore weigh much less
than their counterparts of non-reinforced aluminum.
The tensile strength of
this new class of materials is similar to that of steel, but it weighs only
half as much because of the lower density. This qualifies it as an ideal
lightweight alternative to steel in many demanding applications - for
example in the manufacture of components for sports equipment or heavy-duty
bolts and screws. With its high thermal conductivity it also has many
potential applications in the energy, electrical and computer industries.
"Cooling elements made of CNT-reinforced aluminum could dissipate the heat
from electrical devices much more efficiently. This would make it possible,
for example, to significantly increase the performance of processors and
computers," says Schmid.
The length of the rotor blades in wind turbines is limited by their weight.
Rotor blades manufactured from the new composite material based on carbon
and glass fiber-reinforced epoxides with carbon nanotubes are 10 to 30
percent lighter and also much stronger than straight epoxy systems. The
material's impact strength, for example, is 20 to 30 percent higher and its
fatigue properties are 50 to 200 percent better.
"Thanks to this
outstanding set of properties, rotor blades made of this new composite
material can be made longer, which significantly raises the output of wind
power plants," noted Schmid.