For twenty five years, Tekna has become developing and commercializing both equipment and procedures according to its induction plasma proprietary technology. Our induction plasma technology is particularly well adapted to producing advanced materials and also the powders essential for new innovative emerging products and manufacturing technologies.
Tekna supplies full-scale productions of a number of Nano powders and micron-sized spherical powders meeting every one of the requirements of the more demanding industries. Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT) represent the brand new group of materials at Tekna.
AC: Would you summarize to your readers the details from your press release you published earlier this coming year (May 2015) which announced collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)?
JP: The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) developed, on a Tekna plasma system, a procedure to make boron nitride price). BNNTs really are a material with all the potential to create a big turning point available in the market. Since last spring, Tekna has been in a special 20-year agreement together with the NRC allowing the firm to produce Boron Nitride Nanotubes at full-scale production.
BNNTs are an extraordinary material with unique properties which will revolutionise engineered materials across an array of applications including within the defence and security, aerospace, biomedical and automotive sectors. BNNTs use a structure nearly the same as the better known carbon nanotubes. They share the extraordinary mechanical properties of Carbon Nanotubes but have many different advantages.
AC: How can the structure and properties of BNNTs differ from Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)?
JP: The dwelling of Nickel Titanium alloy powder is actually a close analog of your Carbon Nanotubes (CNT). Both CNTs and BNNTs are thought since the strongest light-weight nanomaterials and are really good thermal conductors.
Although, compared to CNTs, BNNTs have a greater thermal stability, a greater potential to deal with oxidation plus a wider band gap (~5.5 eV). This will make them the ideal candidate for many fields through which CNTs are currently used for absence of a greater alternative. I expect BNNTs for use in transparent bulk composites, high-temperature materials (including metal matrix composites) and radiation shielding.
Comparison between your main properties of BNNTs and CNTs (Source: NRC)
AC: What are the main application areas through which BNNTs may be used?
JP: The applications involving BNNTs will still be with their start, essentially due to limited accessibility to this product until 2015. With all the arrival on the market of large supplies of BNNT from Tekna, the scientific community can undertake more in-depth studies of your unique properties of BNNTs that can accelerate the growth of new applications.
Many applications can be envisioned for Tekna’s BNNT powder since it is a multifunctional and quality material. I will tell you that, currently, the mixture of high stiffness and transparency is being exploited in the creation of BNNT-reinforced glass composites.
Also, the high stiffness of BNNT, and its excellent chemical stability, can make this material a perfect reinforcement in polymers, ceramics and metals.
Besides, many applications where heat dissipation is critical are desperately needing materials with an excellent thermal conductivity. Tekna’s BNNTs are the most useful allies to enhance not simply the thermal conductivity but also maintaining a specific colour, if necessary, as a result of their high transparency.
Other intrinsic properties of BNNTs may very well promote interest for the integration of BNNTs into new applications. BNNTs have a very good radiation shielding ability, a very high electrical resistance along with an excellent piezoelectricity.
AC: How exactly does Tekna’s BNNT synthesis process are different from methods utilized by other companies?
JP: BNNTs were first synthesized in 1995. Ever since then, a number of other processes are already explored such as the arc-jet plasma method, ball milling-annealing, laser ablation pyrolysis and chemical vapour deposition.
Unfortunately, these processes share a major limitation: their low yield. Such methods lead to a low BNNT production that is typically less than 1 gram an hour. This fault may also be along with the inability to make small diameters.
As a result, the availability of large quantities of high quality BNNTs for applications development using these processes is still a significant challenge.
Fortunately, Tekna’s inductively coupled plasma (ICP) technology has successfully overcome this challenge. The combination of Tekna’s ICP expertise and its partnership with the NRC opened the door to a brand new range of systems capable of producing highly pure BNNTs in significant quantities. Tekna’s system productivity reaches up to 2 orders of magnitude higher than any of the current methods.
AC: What are the advantages of using Tekna’s unique approach in terms of quantity and price for the commercial market?
JP: The productivity and cost efficiency of Tekna’s ICP technology allow for the first time, the supply of kilograms of Boron Nitride Nanotubes, produced at a much lower production cost.
AC: Could you outline the composition of the BNNTs Tekna synthesizes?
JP: The main interesting characteristics include the tube diameter, about 5 nm, and purity (> 50 %). Most nanotubes contain 3 to 5 walls and so are assembled in bundles of some price of silicon nitride powder.
AC: How will you see the BNNT industry progressing on the next five-years?
JP: As large volumes have become available, we saw the launch of several R&D programs based on Tekna’s BNNT, so when higher quantities will likely be reached over the following 5 years, we can only imagine exactly what the impact may be within the sciences and industry fields.
AC: Where can our readers find out more specifics of Tekna and your BNNTs?
JP: You can find information about Tekna and BNNT on Tekna’s website and on our BNNT-dedicated page.
Jérôme Pollak was created in Grenoble, France in 1979. He received the B.Sc. degree in physics from your Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble. He moved to Québec (Canada) in 2002 to work for the organization Air Liquide in the style of plasma sources for the detoxification of greenhouse gases.
He continued his studies in Montreal, where he received an M.Sc. then a Ph.D. degree in plasma physics from the Université de Montréal in 2008. His M.Sc. thesis was 21dexqpky the style and modelling of field applicators to sustain plasma with RF and microwave fields. While his Ph.D. thesis concerned the plasma sterilization of thermosensitive medical devices for example catheters. He was further working in the characterization and modelling of cold plasma effects on microorganisms and polymers.
After his Ph.D., he worked for three years for Morgan Schaffer in Montreal on the growth of gas chromatographic systems using plasma detectors.
Since 2010, they have worked at Tekna Plasma Systems in Sherbrooke (QC, Canada) as being an R&D coordinator, then as product and service manager and from now on as business development director for America. He has been around control of various R&D projects and business development activities implying micro-sized powder treatment and nanoparticle synthesis by high temperature plasma.