For twenty-five years, Tekna continues to be developing and commercializing both equipment and procedures according to its induction plasma proprietary technology. Our induction plasma technology is especially 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 number of Nano powders and micron-sized spherical powders meeting each of the requirements of the more demanding industries. Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT) represent the newest group of materials at Tekna.
AC: Can you summarize to our readers the facts from your press release you published earlier this season (May 2015) which announced collaboration together with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)?
JP: The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) developed, on a Tekna plasma system, an operation to produce boron nitride price). BNNTs certainly are a material together with the potential to create a big turning point in the marketplace. Since last spring, Tekna has been doing a unique 20-year agreement with the NRC to permit the firm to manufacture Boron Nitride Nanotubes at full-scale production.
BNNTs are an extraordinary material with unique properties that will revolutionise engineered materials across a wide array of applications including within the defence and security, aerospace, biomedical and automotive sectors. BNNTs possess a structure nearly the same as the higher known carbon nanotubes. They share the extraordinary mechanical properties of Carbon Nanotubes but have many different advantages.
AC: How exactly does the structure and properties of BNNTs are different from Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)?
JP: The structure of Nickel Titanium alloy powder can be a close analog from the Carbon Nanotubes (CNT). Both CNTs and BNNTs are viewed as being the strongest light-weight nanomaterials and so are very good thermal conductors.
Although, when compared with CNTs, BNNTs use a greater thermal stability, a much better resistance to oxidation plus a wider band gap (~5.5 eV). This may cause them the best candidate for several fields by which CNTs are employed for deficiency of a better alternative. I expect BNNTs to 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: Which are the main application areas in which BNNTs can be used?
JP: The applications involving BNNTs will still be with their very beginning, essentially because of the limited option of this material until 2015. Using the arrival out there of large supplies of BNNT from Tekna, the scientific community should be able to undertake more in-depth studies of your unique properties of BNNTs which 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 mixture of high stiffness and transparency is being exploited in the creation of BNNT-reinforced glass composites.
Also, our prime stiffness of BNNT, and its excellent chemical stability, will make this material a great reinforcement in polymers, ceramics and metals.
Besides, many applications where heat dissipation is crucial are desperately in need of materials with a good thermal conductivity. Tekna’s BNNTs are the most useful allies to enhance not only the thermal conductivity but also maintaining a clear colour, if required, because of their high transparency.
Other intrinsic properties of BNNTs are likely to promote interest for your integration of BNNTs into new applications. BNNTs have a very good radiation shielding ability, an incredibly high electrical resistance along with an excellent piezoelectricity.
AC: So how exactly does Tekna’s BNNT synthesis process are different from methods utilized by others?
JP: BNNTs were first synthesized in 1995. Consequently, 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 significant limitation: their low yield. Such methods result in a low BNNT production which can be typically under 1 gram per hour. This fault may also be in conjunction 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 Silicon nitride sintered powder.
AC: How would you view the BNNT industry progressing over the next 5yrs?
JP: As large volumes are actually available, we saw the launch of various R&D programs depending on Tekna’s BNNT, so when greater quantities is going to be reached over the following five years, we can only imagine exactly what the impact could possibly be inside the sciences and industry fields.
AC: Where can our readers find out more information about Tekna along with your BNNTs?
JP: You will find information regarding 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 in the Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble. He transferred to Québec (Canada) in 2002 to work for the organization Air Liquide in the appearance of plasma sources for your 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 through the 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 including 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 introduction of gas chromatographic systems using plasma detectors.
Since 2010, they have worked at Tekna Plasma Systems in Sherbrooke (QC, Canada) for an R&D coordinator, then as product and repair manager and today as business development director for America. He has been around charge of various R&D projects and business development activities implying micro-sized powder treatment and nanoparticle synthesis by high temperature plasma.