Development and Characterization of Commercial Boron Nitride Nanotube Product Forms

M.B. Jakubinek, Y. Martinez-Rubi, K.S. Kim, Z.J. Jakubek, C.M. Homenick, S. Zou, D. Klug, B. Ashrafi, J. Guan, S. Walker, M. Daroszewska, C.T. Kingston, B. Simard
National Research Council Canada,

Keywords: boron nitride nanotubes, nanotube characterization, buckypaper


Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are structurally analogous to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and possess equally impressive mechanical properties along with a different set of multifunctional properties including higher thermal stability than CNTs, wide band gap, electrical insulation, polarizability, high neutron absorption cross-section, and transparency in the visible region. Advances in large-scale BNNT production in recent years [1], including the hydrogen-assisted BNNT synthesis (HABS) process at NRC Canada [2], are now enabling broader availability of BNNT-based materials for research and applications. For example, a commercial product (Tekna BNNT-R [3]) derived from the “raw” BNNT produced via the HABS process was released in 2015 and was followed quickly, in 2016, by purified (BNNT-P [3]) and buckypaper (BNNT-BP [3]) product forms. Reliable characterization of these materials, in particular the composition, purity, and quality of BNNTs is critical to build the user base for such nanomaterials products, as was the case for carbon nanotubes, and enable evaluation and comparison of studies using BNNT materials. Here we highlight development of raw, purified and buckypaper BNNT product forms derived from the HABS process, characterization of the materials including assessment of the quality and purity of raw and purified BNNTs via transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis, absorption spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and properties of BNNT buckypaper sheets [2,4,5,6]. [1] K.S. Kim et al., Semiconductor Science and Technology 32, 013003 (2017); [2] K.S. Kim et al. ACS Nano, 8, 6211 (2014); [3]; [4] Y. Martinez-Rubi et al., Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119, 26605 (2015); [5] K.S. Kim et al., RSC Adv 5, 41186 (2015); [6] Jakubinek et al, Physica Status Solidi A 213, 2237 (2016).