Carbon Nanotube Technology

Q-Flo's unique technology for producing long carbon nanotube fibre and mats is patent protected and operates as a single stage continuous process. The technology is scalable and is the subject of a funded development programme administered by Q-Flo and a Q-Flo / Plasan joint venture company Tortech Limited.

On formation the carbon nanotubes, which are grown from floating catalyst particles self assemble into ropes of several thousands of tubes, the ropes then assemble into a contiguous annular sock that collapses to form the macroscopic product.

The carbon nanotubes are typically of the order of 1.5 to 2mm in length with diameters in the range of 5 to 10nm with predominantly few layers or walls. The large diameter nanotubes often collapse to form a dog bone structure adding to the strength and potential offered by the macroscopic material. Modifying process parameters allows control of nanotube diameter, type, morphology and chiral angle.

The macroscopic product can be collected as a fibre with orientation of CNTs and self assembled ropes increasing with increased wind up speed or as a mat with thickness and degree of orientation determined by the rate of collection. The orientation and properties of both fibre and mat can be modified by on or off line post treatment.

Schematic representation of Q-Flo's continuous process for producing carbon nanotube structures

a, SEM image showing a single fibre, b, TEM image showing a single CNT, c, Surface of fibre or mat showing ropes of CNTs, as processed and formed into an oriented structure