Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are structurally analogous to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and possess equally impressive mechanical properties along with a different set of multifunctional properties including higher thermal stability than CNTs, wide band gap, electrical insulation, polarizability, high neutron absorption cross-section, and transparency in the visible region. While these characteristics make BNNTs attractive for the fabrication of enhanced composites, nanocomposites incorporating BNNTs have received only limited study. This is in contrast to CNT-polymer nanocomposites, which have been exploited in many studies and appear in an increasing number of commercial products. The main reason for this discrepancy is that, until recently, the methods available for synthesis of high-quality BNNTs were limited to low production rates, insufficient to support large-volume applications including polymer nanocomposites. Recent advances in BNNT production, including a pilot scale (~200 g/day) method developed in our lab, have removed this obstacle leaving development of BNNT composites poised to accelerate quickly. Here we highlight early literature work on BNNT- nanocomposites and focus on recent examples from our laboratory including: (a) bulk composites and adhesives prepared by dispersion of BNNTs, (b) composite sheets prepared by epoxy-impregnation of BNNT buckypapers, and (c) BNNT films modified by integration of thermoplastic polyurethane.
Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Advanced Materials: TechConnect Briefs 2015
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 416 - 419
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topic: Composite Materials