Lightweight yet strong. Those two characteristics could come in mighty handy for a number of things.
Zyvex Technologies of Columbus knows a lot about making things lighter yet stronger. It’s the first company to globally commercialize nano-enhanced products from carbon nanotubes. To the layperson, this innovation is part of a materials revolution that is helping to make stuff we use more fuel-efficient.
“A carbon nanotube is a tiny cylinder of carbon, just a few atoms wide and 1/50,000th the thickness of a human hair,” explains Mike Nemeth, director of commercial and defense applications. “Our product – Arovex – uses carbon nanotubes and carbon fiber together. It acts as a reinforcement for materials you mix it with.” He described Arovex like a fruit rollup. “It’s a tacky sheet that customers can lay into molds and then make parts.”
Zyvex recently partnered with Pacific Coast Marine (PCM), a leader in marine closures, to develop a set of 30 doors, hatches and other closures for boats. “They’re all 66 percent lighter and eight times stronger than the standard ones,” says Nemeth. PCM recently debuted the items at a marine show with positive results.
“There’s a big demand for making things that are lighter and stronger, which can improve safety and fuel efficiency,” Nemeth notes. He lists the aerospace and automotive industries as examples. “It’s helpful for sporting goods, too. A good example is super lightweight mountain bike wheels. We have a new partnership to provide a bicycle rim specifically for downhill mountain biking.”
Zyvex uses two Ohio manufacturers, one in Akron and one in Dayton, so its products are all Ohio made and assembled. Zyvex has 40 employees and received Third Frontier funding in 2009.
Source: Mike Nemeth, Zyvex Technologies
Writer: Lynne Meyer