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Saturday April 15, 2006

USM to market new carbon nanotubes


NIBONG TEBAL: Usains Holdings Sdn Bhd is preparing to launch the next generation of carbon nanotubes for the South-East Asian market. 

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) engineering campus management coordinating committee chairman Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Mohamed said his team had recently succeeded in inventing a new production process to manufacture a new range of carbon nanotubes. 

“This new production technique is less costly compared with the conventional way of manufacturing carbon nanotubes. 

“Our method cost less than US$10 to produce one gram of carbon nanotube, compared with the existing technique which costs about US$70-US$80.  

Prof Dr Abdul Rahman showing a model of the carbon nanotube production rig.
“Not only is our method much more cost effective, but the quality of the carbon nanotube produced is also stronger, with greater conductivity,” Abdul Rahman told StarBiz after presenting a talk on marketing the new nanotubes here on Thursday. 

“Because we are able to produce cost effectively, we are also able to price the carbon nanotubes more competitively in the global market. 

“The current market price of carbon nanotubes is fixed at between US$140 and US$300 per gram, depending on the grade and size.'' 

There are several million carbon nanotubes in one gram, with measurements ranging between one and 50 nanometre. 

Carbon nanotubes are used in electronic consumer products such as plasma television, rechargeable batteries, cellular phones, and hydrogen storage in fuel cell cars to enhance the conductivity of semiconductor elements in electronic products. 

“Usains Holdings Sdn Bhd is making the necessary preparations to market the new range of carbon nanotubes and would initially target the market in this region. 

“Meanwhile, I will be working to patent our production process,'' he said. 

Abdul Rahman said the research and development project to invent this new production process began in 2000. 

About RM120,000 was invested in the whole project. 

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