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Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNTs) may not be a term you are familiar with right now, but a Newport News company is hoping to change that. BNNT, LLC is a start-up company created with the purpose of refining the process of creating and manufacturing BNNTs for a variety of real-world applications. The process used to manufacture BNNTs was originally developed through a partnership among Jefferson Lab, NASA Langley Research Center, and National Institute of Aerospace. Once the process was developed and the first wisps of product were created, researchers realized there could be a number of different applications for BNNTs across a broad spectrum of products.
BNNTs are unique in several aspects. They are one of the two strongest fibers ever made, yet incredibly lightweight – a bundle of BNNT fibers looks and feels like cotton candy. BNNTs conduct heat very well and maintain their strength even in extreme temperatures as high as 800 degrees Celsius. While they handle heat very well, BNNTs also serve as an electrical insulator. When combined, these features create a product with a number of potential uses in fields such as cooling electronic circuits, medical device manufacturing, ceramic composites, polymer composites, electrical and radiation shielding, extreme high vacuum pumping, high and low temperature vibration damping, technical wiring, and aerospace products. Everyday objects can also be enhanced by the use of BNNTs. For instance, imagine a day when tennis racquets or golf clubs are stronger than what they are today but weigh a fraction of what they do now.
BNNT is a premier example of technology transfer originating from Jefferson Lab, benefitting Newport News, the Hampton Roads Region, and areas beyond. Located at 300 Ed Wright Lane, just across Jefferson Avenue from the Lab, the company continues to work closely with scientists and researchers at the facility to further develop and commercialize this breakthrough technology.For more information, please visit the BNNT, LLC website.