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August 02, 2010

Carbon nanotubes and Graphene for Stronger ETFE Domes and to Add Circuits and Electronics

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This site has been writing recently about ETFE and its widespread use in new architecture and proposing its use for domes over cities and canopies over roads. Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE, a kind of plastic, was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. Technically ETFE is a polymer, and its systematic name is poly(ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene). ETFE could be combined with carbon nanotubes or graphene to get 40% or more improvement in structural strength. Incorporating graphene into a polymer so that 0.1% of the weight of the composite material is graphene can make the material 31-53% stronger.

Making the ETFE stronger with a composite is not necessary now and is currently expensive because of the low production volumes and high costs of carbon nanotubes and graphene. However, the production volumes and costs are expected to fall drastically over the next few years with larger carbon nanotube and graphene factories.

Cast iron is about 85% stronger than copper. Steel and titanium can be 5-15 times stronger than cast iron.

Polypropylene is an exemplary thermoplastic material that has excellent chemical resistance, and good mechanical properties with tensile strengths in the range of 30-38 MPa and tensile modulii ranging from 1.1-1.6 GPa for the bulk material. SWNTs incorporated into polypropylene matrices can result in a 40% increase in fiber tensile strength for composites containing a 1 wt. % loading of SWNTs by weight.

Graphene or carbon nanotubes printable electronics can also be applied to enable a dome to have displays and sensors and other electronic functions.

Physical Properties of ETFE

Here are the physical properties of ETFE

Physical Properties of PTFE

PTFE properties



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