Composites Today

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Graphene nanotube-enhanced composite cylinders for breathing apparatus.

Self-contained breathing apparatus with nanocylinders show wide adoption by fire services

Ultralight weight and non-limited life performance of fully composite cylinders become possible thanks to their enhancement with graphene nanotubes.

Fire and emergency services work in extreme environments, where the weight of equipment is critical. Dräger, an international leader in manufacturing medical and safety technology products, announced that it has commercialized a firefighting breathing apparatus with the world’s lightest type 4 composites cylinders, enhanced with graphene nanotubes to minimize weight. Fire services in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK, Germany, Indonesia, Qatar, and many other countries have already recognized the efficiency of the innovative breathing system.

“Reduced weight and a non-limited life performance are the key features of the developed compressed air breathing cylinders. The combination of lightweight sturdy cylinder material, which was achieved with the use of OCSiAl’s graphene nanotubes, with impact-resistant caps ensures the high durability and solid robustness of nanocylinders. OCSiAl, headquartered in Luxembourg is a manufacturer of graphene nanotubes, also known as single-wall carbon nanotubes. They are 75% lighter than steel cylinders and 30% lighter than aluminum ones,” said Piotr Saferna, R&D leader of Techplast, an innovative company that developed the nanocylinders. Techplast focuses on developing and production of composites cylinders with reduced weight and higher safety and durability.

In 2021, Dräger received exclusive rights to use these nanocylinders in its self-contained breathing apparatus. “Thanks to a shell weight of only 2.8 kg and 6.8 l of air, the Dräger NANO Type 4 reduces fatigue and increases firefighter agility. Since 2021, we have provided fire service companies in more than twenty countries worldwide with self-contained breathing apparatus equipped with nanocylinders fully compliant with EN12245:2009,” said Mike George, Product Manager for PM Emergency and Rescue Services, Draeger Safety UK Ltd.

According to Dräger, now airport and industrial fire brigades, marine firefighters, and mine rescue teams have the opportunity to increase safety via a longer duration of air consumption and air supply if using a twinning option.

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