For 25 years, Tekna is developing and commercializing both equipment and processes based upon its induction plasma proprietary technology. Our induction plasma technology is very well adapted to the creation of advanced materials and the powders needed for new innovative emerging products and manufacturing technologies.
Tekna supplies full-scale productions of various Nano powders and micron-sized spherical powders meeting every one of the requirements of the most demanding industries. Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT) represent the latest family of materials at Tekna.
AC: Can you summarize to our own readers the specifics in the press release you published earlier this year (May 2015) which announced collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)?
JP: The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) developed, with a Tekna plasma system, a procedure to make boron nitride price). BNNTs can be a material with all the potential to generate a big turning point in the marketplace. Since last spring, Tekna has been doing an exclusive 20-year agreement with all the NRC to permit 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 a wide range of applications including inside the defence and security, aerospace, biomedical and automotive sectors. BNNTs possess a structure much like the more effective known carbon nanotubes. They share the extraordinary mechanical properties of Carbon Nanotubes but have several different advantages.
AC: How exactly does the dwelling and properties of BNNTs vary from Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)?
JP: The structure of Ni-Ti Powder can be a close analog of your Carbon Nanotubes (CNT). Both CNTs and BNNTs are believed because the strongest light-weight nanomaterials and they are really good thermal conductors.
Although, in comparison to CNTs, BNNTs use a greater thermal stability, an improved effectiveness against oxidation as well as a wider band gap (~5.5 eV). As a result them the most effective candidate for most fields where CNTs are currently employed for lack of a much better alternative. I expect BNNTs to be used 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: Do you know the main application areas by which BNNTs may be used?
JP: The applications involving BNNTs will still be inside their very beginning, essentially due to the limited accessibility to this product until 2015. With all the arrival available on the market of large supplies of BNNT from Tekna, the scientific community should be able to undertake more in-depth studies in the unique properties of BNNTs that can accelerate the development of new applications.
Many applications can already be envisioned for Tekna’s BNNT powder as it is a multifunctional and quality material. I can tell you that, currently, the mixture of high stiffness and high transparency will be exploited in the introduction of BNNT-reinforced glass composites.
Also, our prime stiffness of BNNT, along with its excellent chemical stability, will make this product a perfect reinforcement in polymers, ceramics and metals.
Besides, many applications where heat dissipation is crucial are desperately needing materials with an excellent thermal conductivity. Tekna’s BNNTs work most effectively allies to improve not simply the thermal conductivity and also maintaining a precise colour, as needed, thanks to their high transparency.
Other intrinsic properties of BNNTs are likely to promote interest for your integration of BNNTs into new applications. BNNTs have a great radiation shielding ability, an extremely high electrical resistance along with an excellent piezoelectricity.
AC: How exactly does Tekna’s BNNT synthesis process differ from methods made use of by other manufacturers?
JP: BNNTs were first synthesized in 1995. Ever since then, a few 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 serious limitation: their low yield. Such methods produce a low BNNT production which happens to be typically below 1 gram an hour. This fault might 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 therefore are assembled in bundles of some price of silicon nitride powder.
AC: How will you see the BNNT industry progressing over the next 5 years?
JP: As large quantities have become available, we saw the launch of various R&D programs based on Tekna’s BNNT, and as better quantities will probably be reached over the following five-years, we are able to only imagine precisely what the impact could possibly be in the sciences and industry fields.
AC: Where can our readers learn more information regarding Tekna and your BNNTs?
JP: You can find details about Tekna and BNNT on Tekna’s website as well as on our BNNT-dedicated page.
Jérôme Pollak came into this world in Grenoble, France in 1979. He received the B.Sc. degree in physics from the Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble. He relocated to Québec (Canada) in 2002 to get results 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. and after that 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 like 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 3 years for Morgan Schaffer in Montreal on the creation of gas chromatographic systems using plasma detectors.
Since 2010, he has worked at Tekna Plasma Systems in Sherbrooke (QC, Canada) 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.