Manufacturing BNNTs

AltaSim guides engineers through multiphysics simulations so they can bring their products to market more rapidly, at a lower cost and with an optimized design. To help better understand what that looks like, we have put together a brief case study of how our simulation gurus provided a practical solution in a recent project.


Epic Advanced Materials (Epic), one of AltaSim's clients, is developing manufacturing methods to produce Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNTs) in significantly greater volume and a much lower cost than current manufacturing methods can produce. The process involves mixing boron powder in a carrier gas that flows through a plasma. The manufacturing method is complex, with many input parameters, and Epic desired to develop a better understanding of the effects of these parameters on the manufacturing process. They looked at the possibility of developing multiple prototypes of their machines, however they realized that they would not develop the depth of understanding they desired through a purely experimental approach. Each experiment would provide limited data. In addition, the time required to develop and test each prototype would limit the number of data points.


Epic leveraged AltaSim's extensive expertise in developing multiphysics simulations of plasma-based products to better understand the mixing process of the boron powder, carrier gas, and interaction with the plasma. AltaSim was able to explore the parametric space with the virtual prototype developed. The rich data set developed from the simulation enabled a deep understanding of the manufacturing process.


This approach enabled Epic to optimize the input parameters and develop a manufacturing method with a higher conversion rate from boron powder to BNNTs. In addition, their product now has lower impurities. This leads to less post-processing of their product and less damage to the tubes.

To learn more about simulating plasmas, please visit our plasma modeling page.

In addition to developing simulations for our clients, AltaSim also trains engineers to develop simulations. For more information about our classes visit our training calendar.

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Epic Case Study