By Frank Esposito, Plastics News
Tampa, Florida -- Bayer MaterialScience is taking steps to become a leader in the nanotechnology field.
In January, Pittsburgh-based BMS opened the world's largest carbon nanotube production site -- a 440 000-lb-capacity (200-tonne) facility in Leverkusen, Germany. The $30-million plant will produce Bayblend-brand carbon nanotubes.
Nanotechnology "will be the driver of the next industrial evolution," BMS chief administrative officer Bob Kumpf said at the 2010 Plastics News Executive Forum in Tampa. "We've reached the inflection point where we're seeing the merger of the virtual world and the physical world."
Nanotechnology permits material control at the molecular level, allowing products to be fine-tuned to meet many different applications. When used as a coating, nanotech materials can conduct electricity in plastics, fibers, metal and ceramics.
"They're really like Swiss Army knife particles," Kumpf said of the nanotubes.
In late 2008, BMS became the first company to have its nanotech products approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency. BMS also recently received a $750 000 federal grant to develop polyurethane composites and nanotubes to be used on turbine blades for wind-power generation.
Last year, BMS -- a unit of plastics and chemicals giant Bayer AG of Leverkusen -- also signed a development deal with Nano-Terra Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to create films.
To view PDFs of all available speakers' slides from the Plastics News executive forum, visit: http://www.plasticsnews.com/forum2010/speakers.html