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4th June 2014, Tokyo

JX announces its entry into nanofibre business

JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation has announced it will enter the nanofibre market with its new developments within a year.

Using a process called CO2 laser supersonic stretching, JX established the technique to manufacture polypropylene nanofibres with 300~500 nm fibre diameter, a range difficult to achieve with conventional methods, the company reports. 

JX’s technique combines CO2 laser supersonic stretching, developed by Yamanashi University, with a fibre dispersion technique obtained through JX’s own nonwoven business. © JX Nippon Oil and Energy

The product line of composite nonwovens with nanofibre and base materials (carriers) will be developed, and sample shipments will be started within the year. Target applications include precision filters, separators, heat insulators and medical materials.

CO2 laser supersonic stretching

The company believes the conventional method of electro-spinning has some problems. For example, only resins soluble in organic solvents are applicable and some solvent remains in the final product. The other conventional method, melt blowing, can’t produce fibres with uniform diameter.

JX’s technique combines CO2 laser supersonic stretching, developed by Yamanashi University, with a fibre dispersion technique obtained through JX’s own nonwoven business. When made into composite nonwovens of 7g/m2, MD tensile strength is 14N/50mm and CD is 5N/50mm. An air permeability rate of 3s/100ml enables low pressure drops for air filters.

Experiment line

So far, test production has been conducted using a lab scale line with 100mm width. Although PP nanofibre is generally said to be difficult to produce, JX has established a manufacturing technique to achieve about 500nm fibre diameter.

As the second step for commercial production, an experiment line with 600mm width was introduced at the end of the last year. With application development ongoing, sample work will be started within this year.

JX’s nonwovens business has a line-up of special nonwovens named CLAF fabric (polyethylene and polypropylene) and Milife fabric (polyester), which are produced by filament aligning and cross laminating technology.  Nanofibres will be the Corporation’s third nonwovens business.

www.noe.jx-group.co.jp

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