Nanoplastic goes commercial

A electrically conductive plastic, that incorporates nanotubes, is being used commercially for the first time by Bosch

BASF has launched a plastic that contains carbon nanotubes for the first time. The material called Ultraform N2320 C, a polyoxymethylene (POM), has an unusually high level of electric conductivity but retains its typical properties such as toughness, dimensional stability and elastic resilience.

The material has gone into its first production application at Bosch, as a fuel filter housing for the Audi A4 and A5. Bosch demanded compliance with the Society of Automotive Engineers standard J1645, which can only be achieved by using a conductive material, as this eliminates the risk of electrostatic sparking as fuel flows through the filter.

When the material comes into contact with fuel, it is stronger and more creep-resistant than conventional POM. In addition, it is less costly than other conductive plastics.

Its abrasion resistance also make it ideal for niche applications such as microelectronic components where, under clean room conditions, static charging has to be prevented and the absence of dust is paramount. Additionally, the material is easily processed by laser welding and injection moulding.

The carbon nanotubes are firmly fixed into the plastic matrix and the material can be handled safely throughout its lifetime. BASF developed Ultraform N2320 C and optimised it for this application in a collaborative effort with Bosch.

However, the material is an ideal metal substitute as it is capable of withstanding high stresses and heat in excess of 90ÂșC without any property change. It is also lightweight, easy to manufacture, and low cost.

Justin Cunningham

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