Wednesday, January 30, 2008

US Patent 7323136 - Fullerene dispersion using levitation

One of the major roadblocks to using carbon nanotubes as strengthening material for metal composites is the agglomeration or clumping resulting in a poor distribution of the nanotubes. This patent from Rice University claims a method for forming a composite with a uniform distribution of carbon nanotubes or other fullerenes by using acoustic or electromagnetic levitation techniques. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a composite of dispersed fullerenes in a matrix, comprising: incorporating a plurality of fullerenes in a matrix, said incorporation forming a plurality of agglomerates; and uniformly distributing said fullerenes by exposing the agglomerates to heat and levitation; and aligning said fullerenes by shear flow during levitation.