A pair of technology firms has joined forces to create Buckeye Composites, a business that will make nano-based plastic materials for the U.S. Air Force.
The National Composite Center and NanoTech Labs Inc. are linked in the project, which is housed at NCC headquarters in Kettering, Ohio. The first Buckeye Composites production unit a 12-inch-wide continuous line recently was installed there.
BC's first product is buckypaper, a paperlike layer that can enhance thermal and electrical properties for aerospace applications while reducing weight vs. existing materials, officials said. Buckypaper contains carbon nanotubes or other carbon nanomaterials, which are then infused with epoxy, nylon or other plastic materials, BC's Jessica Ravine said by phone June 8. Buckypaper can be scaled up to make a 52-inch- wide product.
Ravine, BC's Ohio division president, declined to identify specific aerospace uses for buckypaper, but said the material's use could be widespread. She added that BC hopes to be operating in its own space within five years.
NCC and Yadkinville, N.C.-based NanoTech labs worked together for three years to develop the technology used to make buckypaper. BC is owned by NanoTech, a private firm that focuses its efforts on developing and commercializing products based on nanotechnology.
NCC is a nonprofit organization that promotes and develops advanced composites technology. It was founded in 1996 and has helped to create 50 spinoff companies that employ more than 600 workers. NCC bills itself as a critical national technology resource for the aerospace and defense markets.