OCSiAl launched Tuball-brand rubber additives this year, and the ACS Rubber Division's meeting was the first event Nemeth said he publicly shared data about the product. In rubber, it is aimed at improving key properties of tires and other products.
“It's been proven in some other markets, and now it's starting to hit some price points that makes sense to introduce it to a rubber, elastomer (market),” he said. “So it's a really good opportunity for us to be able to deliver it at price points that make sense in the rubber industry.”
The company has additives for composites, plastics, conductive inks and batteries. Much of Nemeth's work this year has been with the battery and composites market in addition to entering the rubber market.
In his talk, Nemeth discussed ways carbon nanotubes can modify elastomer technology and also evaluate cost and processing requirements of single wall carbon nanotube materials.
One of OCSiAl's focuses is on basic industry education, he added. Nanotechnology has been around for about 20 years, but in the materials world that is just getting into its early stages.
“It takes a long time for new technology to develop,” he said.
It's about a 50/50 split among OCSiAl's contacts and customers, with half having worked with nanotechnology previously and half seeing it as a new entity. The company spends a lot of time just educating people about the technology, he said.
OCSiAl is not a rubber company but rather a carbon nanomaterials company “which is a new category of company,” according to Nemeth. “We serve many, many different markets, and so we're very much experts in these materials. And we're just building partnerships and relationships with people here who understand their piece of the puzzle.”
One thing unique about the firm's material is that it is considered a “universal additive,” so the company can create a manufacturing facility producing 50 metric tons of nanotubes.
“It is just pure carbon, so it's as small as you could imagine carbon cylinders,” he said. One nanotube is 50,000th the width of human hair, meaning 50,000 nanotubes could be stacked side by side to get one width of a human hair.
There is no requirement for OCSiAl to have variations of a product SKU, he said, because of its universal quality. “Our nanotubes happen to be anywhere from 10 to 20 nanometers long sometimes,” Nemeth said. The nanotubes could be made longer; it just varies on the need.