By: Regina Ramazzini

Boron is the basis of two patented technologies developed by Jefferson Lab. One is a boron based nanotube material capable of maintaining its unique properties in extreme environments and another is a construction material that uses the neutron shielding capability of boron for applications in nuclear power and radiation therapy.

Boron is the basis of two novel technologies developed by Jefferson Lab. One is a boron based nanotube material capable of maintaining its unique properties in extreme environments and another is a construction material that uses the neutron shielding capability of boron for applications in nuclear power and radiation therapy. Jefferson Lab with NASA developed a process to fabricate high-quality nanotubes from boron nitride. These boron-nitride nanotubes maintain their strength in air to high temperatures (900°C), efficiently conduct heat but not electricity, can be made to be long and thin, are thought to be non-toxic to living tissues, and may be added to other materials to make composites with enhanced properties. A company called BNNT, LLC has spun off the technology. Additionally, Jefferson Lab has developed two new concrete construction materials designed to combine structural strength and shielding for neutrons and a new panel type material suitable for absorbing thermal neutrons. The panel material is intended to be mounted to a structural surface and is itself not load bearing. This material is made with a boron compound and an organic resin and can be cast into flat panels of other shapes.