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Bayer MaterialScience.

Bayer MaterialScience has opened a pilot facility for the manufacture of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) at Chempark in Leverkusen, Germany, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. The company has invested 22 million euros in the planning, development, and construction of the facility, which has an annual capacity of 200 metric tons. Bayer is marketing the CNTs under the trade name Baytubes. "Current forecasts predict an annual growth rate of 25% for carbon nanotubes," says Dr. Joachim Wolff, a member of Bayer's executive committee and head of the coatings, adhesives and specialties segment. "Within 10 years, the market is expected to be worth $2 billion. We are also expecting nanotechnology to create a total of 100,000 new jobs in the German industry in the medium term." Bayer has been operating a pilot facility with an annual capacity of 60 metric tons in Laufenburg in the German state of Baden-Wtirttemberg since 2007.

CNTs are manufactured from ethylene in a reactor at an elevated temperature using a catalytic process. Baytubes can be added to polymer matrices or metal systems as a filler or modifier to improve their mechanical strength and impart electrical properties, the company says. Potential applications for Baytubes include thermoplastic and thermoset systems and coatings. When used in coatings for ships, Baytubes ensure very high abrasion resistance, Bayer says, while reducing the flow resistance between the ship's hull and the water, resulting in a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Further applications for CNTs include rotor blades for wind turbines, and sports equipment such as skis, hockey sticks, and surfboards. "Nanotechnology is a cross-sectional technology which can play a role in a variety of different industries and application areas. Its potential uses range from industrial production to energy supply and storage, from information technology to intelligent surfaces, and also to some areas of medicine, like diagnosis or therapy," explains Wolff. Bayer offers a comprehensive product stewardship program that supports the safe handling of Baytubes from production through processing to application and waste management.
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Title Annotation:industry NEWS and NOTES
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Apr 1, 2010
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