Long carbon nanotube products have potential in a number of application areas either as property modifiers as 100% CNT composites or as sensor and device enablers. In addition to opening up new opportunities they offer the potential of improved performance at reduced weight over traditional composite and metallic materials.
Mechanically the products offer increased tensile, compressive and fatigue behavior. Fibre strengths up to 2.2 GPa, with a stiffness of 160GPa and toughness of 46 J/g have been reported with property transfer to epoxy composites showing improvement in behavior in both tension and compression. Knot strength in fibre is also remarkable at 70% to 100% of the strength of the unknotted material.
Unmodified electrical conductivity of 8x105 S/m offers the potential for electrostatic discharge protection, charge dissipation, ohmic heating, EMI shielding and signal and power transmission (particularly at high frequencies). Benefits which are enhanced on a specific property basis as the material has a density of ~1gcm-3 offering significant weight saving over conventional materials.
Thermal conductivity along the CNT orientation axis is high at 50W/mK offering the potential for light weight and sophisticated thermal management systems.
In addition, combinations of the above properties together with the unique surface characteristics, strength and flexibility offered by both fibre and mat are opening up a range of opportunities in sensor and energy related devices.
Application interest is centered on exploiting the unique properties of these materials in a range of end use application utalising both their mechanical, surface, electrical and thermal conductive properties. The following are seen as representing lead application areas:
Production of high carbon nanotube and carbon - carbon composites for specific applications.
Local modification of the mechanical properties of traditional composites, particularly inter layer shear, fatigue and compressive behavior in carbon fibre structures.
Local modification of the electrical properties of traditional composites, particularly electrostatic discharge protection, local area heating and electromagnetic shielding.
Surface specific properties such as filtration, adsorption and electrical membrane fabrication as used, for example, in batteries, super-capacitors and fuel-cells.