With the aim at improving CNT production and usage management, the CNT Characterization Team is engaged in the development of standardized characterization methods. For example, the team is currently developing characterization techniques and computer simulation technology to describe the CNT dispersions both in solution and in composite form, and CNT characterization techniques for nanosafety evaluation. In addition, the Characterization Team is also actively engaged establishing the developed characterization techniques as an international standard. The aim of the CNT Characterization Team is to promote practical application and industrialization of CNTs through these types of research.
Development of CNT dispersion characterization techniques
CNTs in solution form a complex and intertwined structure. For this reason, multiple methods have been combined and utilized in characterization, and a simple method for process management of CNT dispersion is yet to be developed. In addition, when composites include rubber, plastic, or other such materials, the only methods currently available for characterizing the state of CNTs dispersed in the base material are both time- and manpower-consuming (for example, observation of a cross-section via optical and/or electron microscope); and therefore, quantitative evaluation of CNT dispersions remains extremely difficult. Given this situation, the research team is currently engaged in the development of characterization methods that accurately reflect the state of CNT dispersion in solution, and technologies that can be used to visualize the network structure of CNT dispersions in composites. The CNT Characterization Team will use these to elucidate the mechanisms behind the functional expression of composites, in order to contribute to the exploitation of the intrinsic characteristics of a CNT. The team is also planning to create a manual describing the most suitable CNT material characterization method for companies involved in application development, with the aim of providing fundamental support for their CNT research and development.
Development of CNT agglomeration and dispersion simulation technology
The CNT Characterization Team is engaged in the development of computer simulation technology based on coarse-graining methods for CNT dispersions and network formation. The team aims to establish a general principle governing the formation mechanism behind the layered structure of CNT agglomeration and dispersion, so as to contribute to the optimization of the CNT network structure in dispersion solution and composites.
International standardization of CNT characterization methods
To provide quality assurance for CNT products, such as dispersion solution, and to reliably conduct CNT safety assessments, it is highly important that international standards for such characterization methods be established and compared under identical measurement conditions. Based on this belief, the research team is engaged in activities promoting the international standardization of CNT characterization methods.