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Posted: April 12, 2010
First Solid Carbon Nanotubes Concentrates For Liquid Epoxy And Aqueous Solution
(Nanowerk News) At JEC COMPOSITES 2010 in Paris, Arkema presents its latest innovations for composite materials: a solid compound containing 25% carbon nanotubes (CNTs) perfectly soluble in liquid epoxy, and a solid compound containing 20% CNTs adapted to water-soluble liquid solutions.
Liquid epoxy dispersions containing CNTs are already available on the market, and are designed to boost the mechanical strength and the conductivity of epoxy composites. However, one drawback of these dispersions is their low CNT content, of the order of just a few percents, as well as the constraint of the nature of the epoxy, which significantly limit the flexibility of the formulation.
Arkema has now developed the Graphistrength® CS1-25 range, the first concentrates in the form of solid granules which contain up to 25% CNTs by weight and can be fully dispersed in liquid epoxy resin. These CNT concentrates afford processors formulation flexibility that is not available with liquid dispersions. Moreover, their high CNT concentration ensures that the Graphistrength® CS1-25 range is highly competitive in terms of cost price for processors.
These blends are used to prepare composite materials that combine electrostatic dissipation properties with superior mechanical strength for low CNT concentrations. CNT-reinforced materials fulfil in particular the expectations of manufacturers in the aeronautics industry who seek to reduce the weight of aircraft structures by replacing certain metal parts with reinforced composite materials.
Arkema has also developed a solid concentrate for aqueous solutions containing 20% CNTs. These concentrates are ideal for use in adhesives, ink and paint.
Since it first began producing CNTs in 2006, Arkema has sought to develop under the trademark Graphistrength® a whole range of high added value masterbatches designed to optimise the performance of CNTs in various polymer matrices. In September 2009 Arkema announced the construction of a 400 ton/year CNT pilot production plant at its Mont site (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, SW France), confirming its global commitment to CNTs on a semi-industrial scale (plant startup due early 2011).
Its high performance masterbatches developed for thermoplastic polymer matrices, in particular the Graphistrength® CM12-30 universal grade, as well as for thermoset polymer matrices help combine outstanding benefits in terms of performance:
- in product manufacture: easy to use, these masterbatches keep the compound manufacturing process straightforward, with no equipment adaptation or investment required from the processor’s viewpoint,
- in the quality of end-products: they ensure excellent dispersion of CNTs in the manufactured product, guaranteeing remarkable end-performances, in particular excellent conductivity and electrostatic dissipation (ESD).