MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Based on its recent analysis of the carbon nanotubes market, Frost & Sullivan has recognized OCSiAl Group with the 2014 North American Award for Technology Innovation for its OCSiAl TUBALL™ products. The high purity and large-scale production of the OCSiAl TUBALL products are potential game changers, as commercialization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) has been a challenge.

Carbon nanotubes have the ability to change the characteristics of known materials — their structural strength, permeability, electrical conductivity and thermal transport — and even allow the creation of totally new products. SWNTs, in particular, have strong potential in advanced technologies, including high-performance composites, molecular electronics, and ultra-sensitive sensor devices. However, until now the uptake of SWNTs was slow due to high costs and greater processing difficulty when compared with multi-walled carbon nanotube production.

“OCSiAl has developed an industrial process to synthesize SWNTs that can be scaled up to eventually produce hundreds of thousands of tons of these nanoparticles, thereby potentially reducing production costs up to 100 times,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant Mike Valenti. “This ability to produce SWNTs in commercial-scale quantities will initially drive the use of these nanoparticles in research, and then in high-end industrial and consumer applications.”

OCSiAl has designed its TUBALL product to contain a minimum of 75% SWNTs and less than 15% of non-carbon impurities, with the predominant non-carbon element being iron. Virtually all non-carbon species are encapsulated, providing highly crystalline nanotubes at a price close to one-fiftieth of that of comparable materials. These characteristics enable OCSiAl's SWNTs to be used as a universal additive, simultaneously enhancing the strength and electric and thermal conductivity of polymer composites, rubbers, metals and other materials upon the addition of as little as 0.001 to 0.1 percent by weight of TUBALL. OCSiAl technology can serve multiple products and applications.

“Since OCSiAl's synthesis process completely encapsulates the impurities of catalyst particles in its SWNTs, it addresses a common problem in production, namely the presence of catalyst particles that are considered impurities,” noted Valenti. “Furthermore, OCSiAl scientists plan to limit the content of the free metal particles in TUBALL SWNTs to 1%. This is significant because making SWNTs with greater purity is a major goal of nanotechnology developers.”

The potential of OCSiAl’s innovation has also helped the company grow rapidly. Recently, the company launched its online store for nanotubes to make access to small quantities of nanotubes for research and development and trial usage easier. For large quantities of nanotubes, OCSiAl has launched a partnership program to create a network of OCSiAl dealers worldwide. This program will also stimulate the production of TUBALL-enhanced versions of current products as well as the production of TUBALL-based industrial modifiers for various materials.

Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for outstanding achievement in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through interviews, analysis and secondary research.