The nanopowders are a high-potential market. More and more manufacturing sectors are including nanopowders in the composition of their products: electronics, optics, manufacturers of mechanical parts, energy, environmental preservation and medicine.
Air Liquide announces that it has entered into a long-term agreement with Nanomakers, a French company specializing in the production of high grade silicon carbide nanopowders. Air Liquide will supply silane, hydrogen, acetylene, argon and equipments for the first industrial facility operated by Nanomakers, which is scheduled to go into production in late 2011 in Rambouillet (France). The R&D teams at Air Liquide will offer their scientific expertise in the areas of gas analysis and purification.
Present today in the French and Japanese markets, Nanomakers produces nanopowders used in industry to strengthen the mechanical and thermal resistance materials properties. The company has a partnership with the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA) – French Atomic Energy Commission. Gases such as silane, hydrogen and acetylene are injected with other raw materials into a reactor that is confined and protected by an argon atmosphere. A CO2 laser generates a steady stream of pyrolysis, which produces ultra-homogenous and ultra-pure silicon powders.
François Ténégal, CEO of Nanomakers, commented: “The reliability of the gases supply chain, the technical expertise of teams and their competency in an area where the safety issues are significant are all factors that contributed to our decision to choose Air Liquide. Today, our business is experiencing strong growth, in terms of both personnel and the conquest of new markets. This partnership will contribute to our own development.”
Augustin de Roubin, Vice President for Southern and Eastern Europe and a member of the Executive Committee of Air Liquide, said: “We are delighted to support Nanomakers, an innovative company, in its development, particularly as it begins the process of manufacturing nanopowders in France. High technologies are a growth driver for the Group”.
Industrial Merchant activities of Air Liquide
The Industrial Merchant business line manages the production and distribution of gases in bulk and cylinders, and provides customers with the applications and services required for their implementation.
Its customers range from tradesmen to major businesses and use industrial gases in 5 key sectors: food and pharmaceuticals, automobile and manufacturing, crafts and distribution, materials and energy, and technology and research. For 2010, the Industrial Merchant business line generated revenue of €4,753 million.
Silicon carbide nanopowders
Measuring from 10 to 100 nanometers (1 nanometer is equal to 1 billionth of a meter), silicon carbide nanopowders are used industrially to increase the performance of materials. They are used to enable savings in the use of raw materials and in the design of new composite materials that help to preserve the environment.