Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are tubular cylinders of carbon atoms that have extraordinary mechanical, electrical, thermal, optical and chemical properties At the individual tube level, these unique structures exhibit: 200X the strength and 5X the elasticity of steel; 5X the electrical conductivity ("ballistic transport"), 15X the thermal conductivity and 1,000X the current capacity of copper; at almost half the density of aluminum. As a carbon based product, CNTs have almost none of of environmental or physical degradation issues common to metals—thermal expansion and contraction, corrosion and sensitivity to radiation—all of which result in greater system failure in performance-sensitive applications in aerospace and defense, aviation, automotive, energy and consumer products.
CNTs typically have diameters ranging from ‹1 nanometer (nm) up to 50 nm—a nanometer is one thousand millionth of a meter. Typical CNT lengths are several microns—several thousand nanometers long; by contrast, Nanocomp's produced fibers are measured in millimeters—thousands of times longer than all other commercially produced CNTs. In the powdery format offered by all CNT producers (but for NTI), applications are limited to the properties possible by this form factor—e.g. additive active ingredients in semiconductors, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), sensors, and other uses in which these powders add some level of functional performance.
Due to its fiber length and its form factors, NTI delivers strength and conductivity unlike any other commercial CNT producer, and so can address a much broader array of applications for which its material rivals copper and aluminum in conductivity, and steel, aluminum, carbon fibers and glass composites where strength and lightweight matter. Further, the Company's macro forms (sheets, tapes, conductors and yarns) are comprised of CNTs that are too long to be inhaled or absorbed by the skin; for this reason, NTI believes it produces the safest CNT commercial products on the market. NTI's sheets, tapes, conductors and yarn products have been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as "articles, "not" particles and so--unlike all commercial producers of CNT particles--are not subject to more stringent oversight as a potentially toxic or hazardous material.