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Monday, March 18, 2013

A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid or tube. Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stacked graphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings; but they may also contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings. The discovery of fullerenes greatly expanded the number of known carbon allotropes, which until recently were limited to graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon such as soot and charcoal. There are several types of fullerenes like buckyball clusters, nanotubes, megatubes etc.  It odorless in a powder/solid form. By far the most common one is C60, also called a çbuckyballé or Buckminsterfullerene. It sublimes at 800K. Its density is 1.65 g/cm.3   These are insoluble in water. Common solvents for the Fullerenes include toluene and carbon disulfide. 

Uses and Applications

Due to their extremely resilient and sturdy nature, fullerenes are being considered for use in combat armor. Researchers have found that water-soluble derivates of fullerenes inhibit the HIV-1 protease (enzyme responsible for the development of the virus) and are therefore useful in fighting the HIV virus that leads to AIDS. They are also used in making superconductors and insulators. Fullerene materials have also been used as excellent catalysts for H-transfer reaction such as coupling and transalkylation reaction of mesitylene, engaged in transfer hydrogenation with dihydroaromatics, and hydrodealkylations. Fullerenes are also highly effective in promoting the conversion of methane into higher hydrocarbons (higher-value fuels and other chemicals). Strong antioxidant capacities and effective quenching radical oxygen species (ROS) made fullerenes suitable active compounds in the formulation of skin care products.

Market Demand

The share of fullerenes on the market of nanomaterials is rapidly growing due to the technology development. It is expected that the market size will increase up to 1.2-1.5 trillion dollars. The market sub-sector for energy storage (fullerenes used in batteries, fuel cells, photovoltaics, flywheel energy storage, and ultracapacitors) is currently worth $19 million, making it the largest current market sub-sector. The trend of industrial elements toward small features, high density, fast transmission, low energy cost and high production rate, has generated a greater requirement of miniaturization for elemental materials. Nanomaterial containing nanostructures are the best material to fulfill these needs.

Source: NPCS Team

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