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Guest: Peter Antoinette; Topics: Carbon nanotubes, the manufacturing process, uses, commercialization, space defense, and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Peter Antoinette, CEO of Nanocomp Technologies, to the show to comprehensively discuss carbon nanotubes. During the firs segment of our 90 minute program, Peter described carbon nanotubes and provided us with a brief history of them. We then talked about them for a space elevator as well as a lunar and Martian elevator. As we have heard before, at this time it makes more sense to consider a lunar space elevators as the carbon nanotube ribbon needed for a space elevator is not yet technically available. Janice asked Peter if today's carbon nanotubes could be used to support a suspension like bridge. He was also asked if making the nanotubes in space would be a plus. It would not be but listen to what our guest said about the process and why on orbit manufacturing would not be applicable. Other topics in the first segment included short material, long material, space elevator type ribbons, and the material they made for shielding for NASA's JUNO Mission.
Peter spent time discussing commercial markets and applications for carbon nanotube products but it was clear that the primary market at this time is the Air Force, DOD and NASA. In addition, there is a strong and growing body armor market. Later in the segment, our guest was asked about carbon nanotube products, work, and R&D in Russia, China, Japan and elsewhere. Don't miss what he had to say about this. 3 D printing made it into the discussion. Note that 3D printing is useful for end products but not for the raw materials.
Before the segment ended, Lonnie, referencing our Friday show with Jackie Kingon, asked about using the nanotubes for body parts. He explained how they can be and are being used for certain kinds of implants and that this would likely be a growing market.
In the second segment, we talked about the electrical conductivity properties of the tubes and why this was important. Peter also talked about being able to replace some copper wires and cables. When using the nanotubes for wiring instead of copper, there are significant savings in weight and mass. As you will hear, this is all very important for the space and aviation industries.
Later in the second segment, our guest was asked about the material for something like a submarine hall with lots of contractions and expansions, including due to temperature variances like in space. He was also asked about using the material for high end competitive bikes. Linda wanted to know about their potential use in clothing (smart clothes and smart fabrics).
I asked Peter about the company priorities for product research and development. He listed three which included shielding for spacecraft, using the honeycomb material for replacement of some spacecraft materials, and materials that can save weight and mass such as wiring and cables. He said the field was focused on application engineering where customers need solutions.
Before the show ended, our guest was asked about using the material in the body of the rocket to make it lighter. Also for use in smallsats, cubesats and the DIY market. He said carbon nanotubes were not yet ready for the DIY market. Before ending the discussion, I asked about the tension waiting for confirmation of JUNO entering orbit at Jupiter. Peter then talked about space missions having no Plan B so this led to a final discussion topic about the essential quality control standards, applications, and implementation goals. Finally, Peter said the biggest challenge was the acquisition of capital.
Please post your comments/questions in the comments section for this archived show on TSS website. You can reach our guest through me.