Boron-based Nanotubes for Ultra High Strength Light Weight Composites
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AbstractBoron-based nanotubes, i.e., both boron nitride and boron nanotubes, have been predicted to have characteristics that are distinctively different from those of carbon nanotubes, particularly with respect to physical and chemical properties. However, very little experimental work has been done to realize these benefits. In particular, there are no commercial efforts until now in developing boron-based nanotubes due to the lack of a suitable method to produce them in large scale. As a result, commercial applications of boron-based nanotubes is still in its infancy. In the Phase I program, we began developing a process to synthesize boron-based nanotubes using a scalable process, and in a form where it can be used to produce polymer composites. Both boron nitride and boron nanotubes were produced and characterized. The Phase II program is aimed at developing a commercial prototype of a large scale system to produce boron-based nanotubes. In addition to developing and delivering (to the Army) a system to produce boron-based nanotubes, the objectives of the Phase II program include (i) delineating the growth mechanism of boron-based nanotubes using advanced electron microscopy tools; (ii) developing surface modification techniques; and (iii) developing an understanding of the environmental, health and safety (EH&S) aspects of these novel materials. The Phase II program will lay the foundation for the commercial scale production of boron-based nanotubes, and their use in military and commercial applications.
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