18, 2005 Touchstone
Research Laboratory in Triadelphia will soon
open its new carbon composite manufacturing
plant, which will be located near Cabela's.
Touchstone will be manufacturing a product
that could revolutionize several major industries
in the nation, and though the cost of this
new high-tech product is high now, Touchstone's
expansion will drive down the price significantly.
"Imagine Styrofoam, only make it 1,000 times stronger and it doesn't burn," said
Brian Joseph, co-owner of Touchstone. "You can take a sheet of it and shoot
an 8-foot two-by-four at it at 100 mph, and it'll bounce right off."
He said that the new plant will employ several
dozen highly paid employees with technical
backgrounds over the coming years, though
Joseph mentioned that the company can already
claim a lot of expertise among the employees
of its current facility.
The foam composite -called Cfoam - gets its
strength from the bonds between carbon atoms
in certain forms of the element. The technology
used to develop this versatile material began with the discovery of
the carbon molecule called Fullerene. A Fullerene molecule contains
60 carbon atoms arranged in a sphere - like a soccer ball. The bonds
in this type of molecule make it so strong that it can even stand the
temperature and pressure extremes of outer space, where it sometimes
The molecules are also called "Bucky balls," named after the architect
R. Buckminster Fuller because they resemble his famous geodesic domes.
After the discovery of Fullerene, scientists began discovering all
sorts of carbon molecules based on the same structure as the Bucky ball and
have used them in a variety of applications.
Touchstone's patented material is made from
West Virginia coal and is among the latest
in composite building materials. Consider
modern boats, for example, said Joseph. Most
small commercial and pleasure boats are made
from a core of polyurethane foam encased
in fiberglass. Polyurethane is highly flammable
and not as strong as Cfoam, which he said
could easily replace it for hull cores in
ships of any size. Joseph said that the U.S.
military has expressed interest in the product,
along with many different maritime and aeronautical corporations. In
fact, Touchstone won the international R & D 100 Award in October
Souce : http://www.e-composites.com