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Posted: March 2, 2007
The future of material sciences is in nanotechnology
(Nanowerk News) Bayer MaterialScience AG, one of the world’s largest polymer manufacturers with approximately $14 billion in sales, says that the future of material sciences is closely linked to nanotechnology.
Exhibiting last week at the NanoTech 2007 fair in Tokyo, the company showcased its carbon nanotube (CNT) capabilities and touted the remarkable possibilities of CNTs and their broad range of applications in commercial products.
CNTs make plastics not only electrically conductive, but also very stable and strong. At the same time however, the material remains extremely lightweight, said a company spokesman. These improved properties are already being put to use today in the production of various sports goods, such as ski poles and baseball bats. CNTs are also in great demand as electrically conductive additives for the manufacture of antistatic packaging used to pack sensitive electronic components, for example.
“The potential is enormous and the Asian market is very important for nanotechnology,” observes Martin Schmid, head of the new Baytubes® operations at Bayer MaterialScience. “With investments totaling US$ 2.7 billion in 2005, Japan ranks number two in the world behind the United States. Research and development are given top priority in Japan. Considering this it is no wonder that Japanese researchers like Dr. Sumio Iijima have made key contributions to the discovery and characterization of the CNT class of materials.
Another example of current research activity at the company is the study of highly functional, UV-resistant carbosiloxane crosslinkers. Sol-gel technology helps to obtain highly crosslinked, nanoparticulate coatings that are extremely scratch-, weather- and chemical-resistant, as well as anti-adhesive. The crosslinkers could be used in hard coat systems for plastic parts, in automotive clear coats to protect against bird droppings and scratches, or in anti-graffiti paints.
A new generation of flame-retardant FR polycarbonate/ABS blends is now commercially available. Their improved fire performance is based on special oxidic nanoparticles combined with other additives, which together promote the formation of flame-retardant carbon deposits on the surface of a plastic in the event of fire. The application potential is considerable, particularly in housing components for the household appliance, entertainment electronics and information technology industries.