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Anonymous Poster

Carbon Nanotubes

10/20/2006 4:51 PM

Why are carbon nanotubes so expensive?

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#1

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/20/2006 10:37 PM

google "carbon nanotubes" +manufacture

you get this

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22carbon+nanotubes%22+%2Bmanufacture&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

why did you not do that first?

'

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/21/2006 11:55 AM

http://search.globalspec.com/Search?query=%22carbon%20nanotubes%22%20and%202006%20and%20%28production%20or%20process%29%20and%20%28cost%20or%20economics%29&show=total

Here is a more focused search strategy, Paul Bunyan!

I'll now go read the results to see if I can learn more about how carbon nanotubes are made and exactly what the economics are for costs to be so high.

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The Engineer
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#2

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/21/2006 11:20 AM

That's a good question. A friend of mine is doing research and I was surprised by the cost for carbon nanotubes myself. The cost can depend on the quality of the nanotubes (are they all the same diameter) you buy.

I think it's mostly because of demand to be honest. There are so many people working on the properties of Carbon Nanotubes (really a pet peeve or mine), that the costs have been driven up. I'm confident that in 10 years the costs will be a tenth of what they are today, not that that helps you today.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/21/2006 12:06 PM

Roger,

Are you suggesting that Carbon nanotubes are expensive because demand exceeds supply? Or, are there cost constraints that need to be addressed?

In my work with high performance materials for applications ranging from filtration/separations to electrochemical devices, I have found that raw material costs are often driven down in a matter of months or, maybe, years but the processing costs are a wild card. Once process costs are reduced, material costs become less of an obstacle and commerical markets grow.

Semiconductors certainly follow this trajectory in a successful way. Solar Cells have struggled on this path and fuel cell (PEM, SOFC, etc) stack component manufacture is stymied by slow processes, performance variability and poor yields. There are many other examples where I can speak with some knowledge of the subject.

But, I don't know enough about the process steps to prepare carbon nanotubes, the source of raw materials, etc. If you (or others) would be so kind as to share some information on the sequence of events, perhaps we could all collaborate to gain an understanding of the issues and, most importantly, the requirements for successful commercialization.

Thanks!

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/21/2006 12:38 PM

I think the problem is yield and purification.

Chemically, carbon nanotubes are difficult to work with. They are strongly attracted to one another and tend to stick together in hairball-like clumps. Scientists have developed ways to untangle and sort small amounts of nanotubes but have not found a satisfactory way to achieve stable dispersions suitable for processing. To date, the medium of choice has been detergent and water solutions that contain less than 1 percent of dispersed nanotubes by volume and are processed with polymer solutions. Such concentrations are too low to support industrial processes aimed at making large nanotube fibers. Moreover, it is difficult to remove all the soap and polymer and convert the nanotubes back into their pure form.

Rice's team believes they have overcome the major hurdle to industrial production of macroscale SWNT objects -- finding a way to store large amounts of nanotubes in liquid form. By using strong sulfuric acid, a team of chemists and chemical engineers was able to disperse up to 10 percent by weight of pure carbon nanotubes -- more than 10 times the highest concentrations previously achieved. This new processing route uses no polymeric additives or detergents, which were used in previous processing methods and are known to be an obstacle to commercial scalability and final product purity.
Chemically, carbon nanotubes are difficult to work with. They are strongly attracted to one another and tend to stick together in hairball-like clumps. Scientists have developed ways to untangle and sort small amounts of nanotubes but have not found a satisfactory way to achieve stable dispersions suitable for processing. To date, the medium of choice has been detergent and water solutions that contain less than 1 percent of dispersed nanotubes by volume and are processed with polymer solutions. Such concentrations are too low to support industrial processes aimed at making large nanotube fibers. Moreover, it is difficult to remove all the soap and polymer and convert the nanotubes back into their pure form.

Rice's team believes they have overcome the major hurdle to industrial production of macroscale SWNT objects -- finding a way to store large amounts of nanotubes in liquid form. By using strong sulfuric acid, a team of chemists and chemical engineers was able to disperse up to 10 percent by weight of pure carbon nanotubes -- more than 10 times the highest concentrations previously achieved. This new processing route uses no polymeric additives or detergents, which were used in previous processing methods and are known to be an obstacle to commercial scalability and final product purity.

http://www.physorg.com/preview79190869.html

http://www.physorg.com/preview73841019.html

http://www.physorg.com/preview74357455.html

rate the two for search

http://search.globalspec.com/Search?query=%22carbon%20nanotubes%22%20and%202006%20and%20production%20and%20purity%20and%20yield&show=total

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22carbon+nanotubes%22+and+2006+and+production+and+purity+and+yield&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/21/2006 8:20 PM

Matt,

Yes, what I was saying was that I believe demand exceeds supply and so the price is high. I'm sure that creating the carbon nanotubes is an expensive process, but the costs for a gram of CNT seem too high. Here is a company that sells only nanotubes and buckyballs:

http://www.cnanotech.com/pages/store/6-0_online_store.html#Research_Grades

That's all they sell, which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/22/2006 7:45 AM

This is the real reason they are so costly. They are so recent that they own most ways to make them and charge arm +leg.

Prices will nor drop until other find new yas and/or patents expire.

http://www.cnanotech.com/pages/about/4-2_intellectual.html

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/22/2006 11:42 AM

The number of scientists doing research on CNTs is shocking. Unfortunately, there are fads in science just as in everything else, and Carbon Nanotubes (and now Boron Nitride Nanotubes) are in vogue. The reason this company even exists is because of this fad, which I hope will end soon since I feel it's siphoning research money away from more worthy work.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Carbon Nanotubes

10/22/2006 12:10 PM

Well a new material like CNT is worth researching. I cannot say how valuable any particular line on inquiry stacks up against others, until I am called on to deal with some of them myself.

Since CNT and BNT and maybe one day DNT hold the secret for really strong tethers for whatever use(space elevator etc), I would like to encourage such research

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