For twenty five years, Tekna is developing and commercializing both equipment and procedures according to its induction plasma proprietary technology. Our induction plasma technology is extremely well adapted to the production of advanced materials along with the powders essential for new innovative emerging products and manufacturing technologies.
Tekna supplies full-scale productions of a variety of Nano powders and micron-sized spherical powders meeting all of the requirements of the more demanding industries. Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT) represent the latest family of materials at Tekna.
AC: Can you summarize to your readers the facts from the press release you published earlier this coming year (May 2015) which announced collaboration with all the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)?
JP: The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) developed, over a Tekna plasma system, a procedure to make hexagonal boron nitride). BNNTs certainly are a material with all the potential to generate a big turning point on the market. Since last spring, Tekna has been in a special 20-year agreement with the NRC to enable the firm to manufacture Boron Nitride Nanotubes at full-scale production.
BNNTs are an extraordinary material with unique properties that may revolutionise engineered materials across an array of applications including from the defence and security, aerospace, biomedical and automotive sectors. BNNTs possess a structure very similar to the better known carbon nanotubes. They share the extraordinary mechanical properties of Carbon Nanotubes but have numerous different advantages.
AC: So how exactly does the structure and properties of BNNTs are different from Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)?
JP: The dwelling of nitinol powder can be a close analog of your Carbon Nanotubes (CNT). Both CNTs and BNNTs are thought as being the strongest light-weight nanomaterials and therefore are excellent thermal conductors.
Although, when compared with CNTs, BNNTs have got a greater thermal stability, a better effectiveness against oxidation plus a wider band gap (~5.5 eV). As a result them the very best candidate for most fields in which CNTs are utilized for insufficient a better alternative. I expect BNNTs for use in transparent bulk composites, high-temperature materials (including metal matrix composites) and radiation shielding.
Comparison between the main properties of BNNTs and CNTs (Source: NRC)
AC: Exactly what are the main application areas by which BNNTs may be used?
JP: The applications involving BNNTs will still be inside their start, essentially as a result of limited option of this material until 2015. Using the arrival out there of large supplies of BNNT from Tekna, the scientific community will be able to undertake more in-depth studies of your unique properties of BNNTs that can accelerate the creation of new applications.
Many applications can already be envisioned for Tekna’s BNNT powder as it is a multifunctional and high quality material. I notice you that, currently, the mix of high stiffness and high transparency is now being exploited in the development of BNNT-reinforced glass composites.
Also, the top stiffness of BNNT, along with its excellent chemical stability, can certainly make this product a perfect reinforcement in polymers, ceramics and metals.
Besides, many applications where heat dissipation is vital are desperately needing materials with a really good thermal conductivity. Tekna’s BNNTs are the most effective allies to improve not simply the thermal conductivity but in addition maintaining a definite colour, if necessary, thanks to their high transparency.
Other intrinsic properties of BNNTs will likely promote interest to the integration of BNNTs into new applications. BNNTs have a very good radiation shielding ability, a really high electrical resistance along with an excellent piezoelectricity.
AC: How exactly does Tekna’s BNNT synthesis process change from methods used by others?
JP: BNNTs were first synthesized in 1995. Consequently, a number of other processes are already explored for example the arc-jet plasma method, ball milling-annealing, laser ablation pyrolysis and chemical vapour deposition.
Unfortunately, these processes share a significant limitation: their low yield. Such methods lead to a low BNNT production which happens to be typically less than 1 gram an hour. This fault might be in addition to 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 they are assembled in bundles of some price of silicon nitride powder.
AC: How would you view the BNNT industry progressing within the next 5yrs?
JP: As vast amounts are actually available, we saw the launch of countless R&D programs depending on Tekna’s BNNT, and as higher quantities is going to be reached within the next five years, we can easily only imagine exactly what the impact may be within the sciences and industry fields.
AC: Where can our readers learn more information about Tekna and your BNNTs?
JP: You can find information regarding Tekna and BNNT on Tekna’s website and on our BNNT-dedicated page.
Jérôme Pollak was born in Grenoble, France in 1979. He received the B.Sc. degree in physics through the Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble. He moved to Québec (Canada) in 2002 to get results for the organization Air Liquide in the style of plasma sources for your detoxification of greenhouse gases.
He continued his studies in Montreal, where he received an M.Sc. and then a Ph.D. degree in plasma physics from your Université de Montréal in 2008. His M.Sc. thesis was 21dexqpky the design and 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 active 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 creation 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 today as business development director for America. He has been in control of various R&D projects and business development activities implying micro-sized powder treatment and nanoparticle synthesis by high temperature plasma.