Nanocomp Technologies got a big Defense contract for carbon nanotube yarn and sheets

Nanocomp Technologies, Inc., a developer of performance materials and component products from carbon nanotubes (CNTs), today announced it has been selected by the United States Government to supply CNT yarn and sheet material for the program needs of the Department of Defense, as well as to create a path toward commercialization for civilian industrial use. Nanocomp’s CNT yarn and sheet materials are currently featured within the advanced design programs of several critical DoD and NASA applications.

Nanocomp Technologies has committed to building large-scale manufacturing facility, delivering assured supply of superior nanotube-based materials for critical national defense needs. They have entered into a long-term lease on a 100,000 square foot, high-volume manufacturing facility in Merrimack, N.H., to meet projected production demand.

An example of four seamed CNT panels. Note: the people are for scale only. Image: Nanocomp Technologies Inc.

The U.S. Dept. of Defense recognizes that CNT materials are vital to several of its next generation platforms and components, including lightweight body and vehicle armor with superior strength, improved structural components for satellites and aircraft, enhanced shielding on a broad array of military systems from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and directed energy, and lightweight cable and wiring. The Company’s CTex™ CNT yarns and tapes, for example, can reduce the weight of aircraft wire and cable harnesses by as much as 50 percent, resulting in considerable operational cost savings, as well as provide other valuable attributes such as flame resistance and improved reliability.

Most recently, Nanocomp’s EMSHIELDTM sheet material was incorporated into the Juno spacecraft, launched on August 5, 2011, to provide protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD) as the spacecraft makes its way through space to Jupiter and is only one example of many anticipated program insertions for Nanocomp Technologies’ CNT materials.

Spools of different types of carbon nanotube yarn

NCTI has developed novel methods to fabricate its nanotubes into structurally strong and electro-thermally conductive fibers, yarns, and sheets. They are delivering on some of the long awaited promises of carbon nanotubes. For example our products exhibit:

* High Strength – our spun conductive yarns exhibit breaking strengths up to 3 GPa expressed or in other terms: 1.5 Nt/Tex or 450,000 psi and with fracture toughness that is higher than aramids (such as Kevlar® or Twaron®). Our CNT sheets have breaking strengths, without binders, that range from 500 MPa to 1.2 GPa depending upon tube orientation. Aluminum breaks at 500 MPa, carbon steel breaks around 1 GPa.

* Electrical Conductivity – Capable of carrying more current than copper and are also more conductive than copper at high frequencies.

* Thermal Conductivity – Capability to transfer more heat than copper or silver on a per weight basis.

* Thermoelectric behavior – Demonstrate a Seebeck coefficient of greater than 60 µV/ºK and power greater than 1 watt/gram.

* Extremely Lightweight – Less than half the weight of aluminum

To leverage these properties we have created value added components, such as conductive cables, thermal straps, EMI shielding “skins,” and high strength sheets or yarns for incorporation into final end-user products

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