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Biomed company Bayer expects nanotubes to explode in popularity

Bayer has opened a new Euro 22 million research facility that will be responsible for manufacturing new carbon nanotubes, according to a news report published on the Bayer News Channel.

Specifically, Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) will develop "Baytubes," a new multi-wall carbon nanotube technology.

"Current forecasts predict an annual growth rate of 25 percent for carbon nanotubes" said Dr. Joachim Wolff, BMS Executive Committee member, said in a statement.  "We are also expecting nanotechnology to create a total of 100,000 new jobs in the German industry in the medium term."

The new facility is expected to produce 200 metric tons of nanotubes each year.  

There aren't many CNT production facilities in the world, able to meet industrial-scale CNTs -- and this plant will specialize in Baytubes.

Baytubes are different because the modified carbon  is able to be added as a filler to help improve the mechanical strength to metal systems.  BMS offered an example of Baytubes being used in coatings for ships, offering higher abrasion resistance to help reduce wear over time.

The new Baytubes could also be used in skis, surfboards, hockey sticks, bicycle components and similar products. 

Baytubes could be used in numerous ways in a wide variety of industries, with BSN using "thermoplastic and thermoset systems and coatings."

Nanocyl, a Belgian biotech company specializing in nanotubes, is installing a reactor that will be used in nanotube production -- overall product capacity would be up to 400 tons per year.

Traditional multi-wall nanotubes are comprised of rolled layers of graphite, with a small number of carbon nanotube suppliers available.  For the expected growth nanotubes should receive in the coming years, there still aren't a lot of manufacturers available.   

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By porkpie on 2/2/2010 9:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
Do you realize some counties in California have asbestos levels some 100X or more higher than EPA allowed levels? Just from the asbestos found naturally in the air, water, and soil? Millions of fibers per cubic meter in some places?

Do you realize that asbestos miners (who spend decades breathing enormously concentrated levels) often did develop asbestiosis...but that even so, their lifespan was slightly longer than the national average.

No one is going to die if they accidentally breathe in a few nanotubes. The risk factors here are incredibly low.

Begone, envirowhacko! Begone!

By Shig on 2/2/2010 11:04:33 AM , Rating: 1
Ethical issues shouldn't be overlooked when evaluating nanotechnology. The problem is the environmentalists wait until these companies poor millions upon millions into research / development / commercialization, then they come in at the very end and say WAIT STOP NO, SORRY.

Many people also are ignorant towards nanotechnology and take alarmist approaches for something they don't even remotely comprehend and end up listening to politicians and media that don't know shit.

People need proper education on this matter or the alarmists will shoot everything down.

Nanotechnology is nothing but a tool. Just like any tool it can be used properly or mis-used.

By 91TTZ on 2/2/2010 3:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no enviro-wacko, but I do think that these things should be considered.

BTW, do you have any supporting info to support your claims about asbestos miners living longer than the national average or did you just make that up?

No one is going to die if they accidentally breathe in a few nanotubes. The risk factors here are incredibly low.

That's not how it works. The more these materials are used the more they'll be in the environment. It's not a matter of "accidentally breathing in a few nanotubes", it's more of a matter of limiting exposure to them. Even people who don't work with asbestos have millions of fibrils in their lungs, and the incidence of disease is proportional to the exposure.

By porkpie on 2/2/2010 4:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
I never make anything up. The actual study was quoted by Dr. Dixie Lee Ray, in at least two of her books. I don't have them here at work, but she gives a clear reference

BTW, neither me nor her means to suggest that asbestos was somehow increasing the miner's lifespan. Just that the very low risk from their exposure was more than compensated for by other factors in their lifestyle, such as receiving a lot of exercise. Also, the results don't apply to miners in crocidolite mines, a significantly more dangerous version of asbestos, but one that consitituted only about 5% of total asbestos mining.

The risk for people NOT working in a mine continually breathing in millions of fibers is vanishingly small. Yet asbestos lawsuits have cost the US alone a quarter of a TRILLION dollars, with no end in sight yet. There are literally thousands of mega-millionaire lawyers, all made rich from the asbestos windfall.

By 91TTZ on 2/3/2010 1:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you about the lawyers blowing it out of proportion. It definitely has become a scam. When I bought my house I couldn't legally remove the asbestos tiles even though the asbestos was encapsulated in vinyl and not flying around like a powder.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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