Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SouthWest NanoTechnologies Opens New Plant in Norman

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SouthWest NanoTechnologies Opens New Plant in Norman

Article excerpt

SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc.'s new Norman plant doesn't have to be gigantic to produce a lot of product.

That's because single-wall carbon nanotubes are less than a billionth of a meter in diameter. Imagine a human hair, and then shave it into 50,000 smaller strands.

But nanotube business potential is huge, Chief Executive Officer David Arthur said at the dedication ceremony of the $3.9 million, 18,000-square-foot manufacturing center on Thursday. About 200 people attended, including Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.

"Our mission is to make single-wall nanotubes a commercial reality," Arthur said. "And we have overcome all of the barriers that previously prevented that: inconsistent quality, inability to scale up and high production costs. Since moving into the plant in June, we have increased production capacity for high-quality single- wall carbon nanotubes by 100-fold at one-tenth the cost.

"This dramatic expansion in capacity enables us to meet the demand we expect from our customers for consistently high-quality single-wall carbon nanotubes at competitive prices," he said.

Carbon nanotubes are valuable because of their unique structure, a one-atom-thick layer of graphite wrapped into a cylinder, which provides an excellent medium for optical and electronic properties as well as a high level of flexibility, strength and thermal stability.

The field of potential applications for single-wall carbon nanotubes is wide, including polymer composites used for thin-film membranes on antennas and thermal optical coatings on aircraft and spacecraft; reinforced ceramics or polymer composites to replace materials from which wind turbine blades are currently made, which will enable the blades to be longer and lighter; and conductive film coatings for inexpensive, long-lasting touch screens in devices such as automatic teller machines and portable personal computers. …

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