Andrey Ponomarev & Alexander Beloglazov , Niagara & STC of Nanotechnologies
Release Date: 2011-08-01Powering research and production as a small-sized company based in Saint-Petersburg can be hard, especially when you need to popularize your discovery and explain the revolutionary impact of its application. Nevertheless, Andrey Ponomarev, General Director of Science and Technology Center (STC) of Applied Nanotechnologies, seems to have achieved that, as he recalls the unexpected minute of applause that he received after his report on the possibilities and benefits of using astralenes in aviation in front of a host of renowned academicians from the major Russian aviation institutes.
Niagara, the partner of Science and Technology Center of Applied Nanotechnologies, headed by general director Alexander Beloglazov, is characterized by a practical approach to composites and specializes in the production of fibrous fillers for carbon fibers and carbon-based composites produced with woven and non-woven technologies.
Focus Communication met with Niagara and STC of Applied Nanotechnologies for a short overview of their operations, the value of independent R&D and production companies for the Russian composite industry and the visible prospects of building composite industry from the viewpoint of minor companies.
The issue of market entry is on top of the agenda for small-scale developers of carbon fibers. What unique developments are offered by Niagara and STC of Applied Nanotechnologies?
Alexander Beloglazov (AB): Niagara is the pioneer in non-woven technologies for carbon fibers. The combination of different technologies widely used in the textile industry allowed the application of high-density homogenic non-woven carbon frames which provided high operational qualities for products. Another important activity of Niagara is the production and implementation of Oxipan – a unique development on the basis of its own non-woven oxidized PAN fiber, a material with fireproof and chemically neutral characteristics that is widely used in Europe.
Andrey Ponomarev (AP): STC of Applied Nanotechnologies, Niagara’s main partner for scientific developments, offers a similar product called EpoxiPAN which is a reinforced composite material for insulation most widely used in construction. However, the increase of volumes in Russian aircraft construction will create demand for EpoxiPAN in aviation.
STC of Applied Nanotechnologies has learnt to change microstructures to achieve industrial breakthroughs. What was the turning point?
AP: Same as technology develops fundamentally from research and development to experimental production, organized production and sales, STC of Applied Nanotechnologies has gone through different stages of industrial development over the last 18 years. The fundamental discovery made by Science and Technology Center of Applied Nanotechnologies is astralenes – new carbon nanoparticles synthesized in our laboratories. Studies of astralenes’ extraordinary characteristics and application have yielded surprising results.
In practice, astralenes provide essential solutions for aviation and machine building by increasing the operational resources of materials. The presence of at least 2.5% of astralenes composites protects an aircraft frame from dangerous damage given its lightning-proof composition. In construction, mobility control of liquid composite precursors is very important to improve the qualities of plasticizers. Astralenes dissolved in water can be the basis for a unique non-toxic medicine against HIV.
The physics of astralenes is based on affecting the organization of the internal structures of substances by reinforcing their borders on atomic levels. The physics of astralenes is based on interaction of substance clusters to form a macro-object. The influence of astralenes makes a big difference tightening and strengthening the borders of mesa structures that form substances. Thanks to their unusual physical and mechanical properties, microdoses of astralenes create conditions for giant resonances in condensed environments by producing a 70,000 multiplication of power fields. As a result, a very small amount of astralenes is enough to drastically affect the characteristics of composites”.
STC of Applied Nanotechnologies is also involved in the development of a new type of nanocomposite fitting. While price competitiveness was initially a problem - $40 up against 40 rubles down for metal fittings – the think tanks of STC of Applied Nanotechnologies and Niagara devised a solution to combine the qualities of fittings, concrete, and carbon fiber. As a result, the new nanocomposite fittings are competitive in price with metals and possess better qualities. Technology of the fittings envisages the possibility of installing information devices such as RFIDs, also referred to as intellectual nanocomposite fittings. Currently under patent, RFIDs are now waiting market commercialization.
What are the challenges of building composite industry for the smaller players?
AB: Russia has good demand but the majority of organizations involved in R&D or certification are very reluctant to implement new developments because certification of new materials is always a problem.
AP: The market situation in Russia clearly shows that there is no conception about cooperation between the large and smaller players yet. The major players are involved in state programs and cooperate with the Russian Academy of Science which has very few applied works. Smaller companies, meanwhile, such as Niagara and Science and Technology Center of Applied Nanotechnologies unite fundamental research, R&D and production. We use the modernization principles of the economy. For this reason, cooperation is essential for us. Apart from Holding Company Composite, ready innovations are used by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technics, the State Optical Institute of Vavilov and KBSM in Saint-Petersburg. Smaller companies see their size as an additional advantage which gives them flexibility in choosing ways to cooperate.
|Company:||Niagara & STC of Nanotechnologies|