Applications Unveiled: The Wide Spectrum of CNT Uses

Posted by Jack Martin on January 17th, 2024

The carbon nanotube (CNT) market accounted USD 1.1 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach a market size of USD 2.3 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 14.6%. Asia Pacific is the largest carbon nanotube (CNT) market that is projected to register the highest CAGR during the forecasted period. This high growth is due to the growing demand from the automotive, electronics & semiconductors end-use industries.

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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have garnered significant attention for their potential applications in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) due to their unique structural, electrical, and mechanical properties. The following are important applications of carbon nanotubes in lithium-ion batteries:

  1. Conductive Additives:
    1. Enhanced Conductivity: CNTs are excellent conductive additives that can be incorporated into both anode and cathode materials. In the anode, they improve electron transport within the material, enhancing the overall conductivity of the electrode.
    2. Reduced Resistance: By decreasing the internal resistance of the battery, CNTs contribute to improved charge and discharge rates.
       
  2. Anode Applications:
    1. Silicon Anodes: Silicon has a high theoretical capacity for lithium storage but suffers from large volume changes during cycling, leading to degradation. CNTs, when integrated into silicon-based anodes, help accommodate these volume changes and maintain electrical contact, improving the overall performance and cycle life.
    2. Tin Anodes: Similar to silicon, tin-based anodes face volume expansion issues. CNTs can act as a flexible and conductive matrix, mitigating the stress on the tin particles and enhancing the anode's stability.
       
  3. Cathode Applications:
    1. Sulfur Cathodes: In lithium-sulfur batteries, which have high theoretical energy densities, CNTs can be employed to encapsulate sulfur and provide electrical conductivity. This helps to address issues related to sulfur's low conductivity and volume expansion during cycling.
    2. Transition Metal Oxides: CNTs can be used as conductive additives in cathode materials such as transition metal oxides (e.g., LiCoO2, LiMn2O4), improving their electrochemical performance.
       
  4. Flexible and Lightweight Electrodes:
    1. Flexible Electronics: CNT-based electrodes offer flexibility and lightweight characteristics. This is beneficial for applications in flexible electronics, wearables, and other devices where mechanical flexibility is important.
       
  5. Current Collectors:
    1. Substitute for Traditional Current Collectors: CNTs can serve as an alternative to traditional metal current collectors (e.g., copper and aluminum) due to their excellent electrical conductivity. This can reduce the overall weight of the battery and enhance its performance.
       
  6. Fast Charging and Discharging:
    1. High Rate Capability: The high electrical conductivity of CNTs allows for fast charge and discharge rates. This is crucial for applications that require rapid energy storage and release, such as electric vehicles.
       
  7. Improved Cyclability and Stability:
    1. Electrode Stability: CNTs contribute to the structural stability of electrodes, particularly in materials prone to mechanical stress and strain during cycling. This can lead to improved cyclic stability and longer lifespan of the battery.
       
  8. Supercapacitor and Hybrid Devices:
    1. Combination with Supercapacitors: CNTs can be integrated into hybrid devices that combine the advantages of lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors. This can result in energy storage systems with both high energy density and high power density.

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Asia Pacific is the largest carbon nanotube market. The key end-use industries for CNTs include the automotive, building & construction, and electrical & electronics sectors. Vehicle sales are anticipated to rise in the APAC area as a result of the expansion of the region's road and transport networks and government efforts to promote industrial and infrastructure development. This is anticipated to have a positive effect on the market during the projected period. Due to growing industrial production over the past five years, China is currently leading the world in the demand for CNTs. The shift of manufacturing operations for the chemical, automotive, and aerospace sectors from established markets to developing nations is another factor driving the industry.

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Jack Martin

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Jack Martin
Joined: August 7th, 2017
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