Nanocomp CNTs finding home in anti-ballistics

The company has announced a series of production, research and development and application programs that indicate the company's line of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are making strong headway.

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Nanocomp Technologies Inc. (Concord, N.H., USA) has announced a series of production, research and development and application programs that indicate the company's line of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are making strong headway in anti-ballistic, aerospace and electromagnetic sheilding parts and structures.

Peter Antoinette, president and CEO of the company, says Nanocomp is now making 4 ft by 8 ft (1.2m by 2.4m) CNT sheets in roll stock 25 ft to 100 ft long (7.6m to 30.5m) in a 4,000-sq-ft/371-sq-m facility, with plans to expand to 100,000 sq-ft/9,290 sq m by 2013.The company expects eventually to produce as much as 4 to 6 metric tons of its CNTs annually.

Antoinette says the company's of line CNT sheets is finding applicaiton in electromagnetic shielding and anti-ballistics products. In particular, Nanocomp is working with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center (see link, images at right ) to develop material for body armor, providing a laminate layer on the strike and back face of the armor to augment current materials. Laminate layers are typically about 2 mm/0.08 inch thick, with 200 layers on each side of the body arbor. Tests have shown that Nanocomp-enhanced body armor can stop a 9-mm bullet. In electromagnetic shielding applications, the Nanocomp's CNTs help provide protection from electrical signals.

Nanocomp is also working to qualify its material on preprg equipment, showing success with resin matrix systems from Cytec Engineered Materials, TenCate and Renegade. More broadly, Antoinette says the company is targeting growth and maturation akin to carbon fiber, with a target material cost of $350/kg to $400/kg.

"There is noting standing in the way, in principle, to prevent us from achieving carbon fiber-like scale patterns," contend Antoinette.