High-Performance Composites

MAR 2013

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

Issue link: https://hpc.epubxp.com/i/110847

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NEWS R esearchers at Teijin Aramid BV (Arnhem, The Netherlands) and Rice University (Houston, Texas) announced the publication of their research findings on a new generation of "superfibers" in the scientific journal Science. In a Jan. 11 announcement, the researchers declared that, for the first time in history, it is possible to spin carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into a fiber that is as thin as a strand of DNA yet, according to Teijin Aramid's business development manager, Marcin Otto, combines "high thermal and electrical conductivity, like that seen in metals, with the flexibility, robust handling and strength of textile fibers." Otto adds, "With that novel combination of properties, it is possible to use CNT fibers in many applications in the aerospace, automotive, medical and smart-clothing industries." For several years, researchers at Rice University, including Nobel prize winner Expand Your Horizons with the leader in moldable specialty foam Specify STEPANFOAM ® Moldable | Pourable | sPrayable High insulation | High strength | Low dielectric values High temperature resistance | Superior dimensional stability Over 100 specifications | 40 years of industry experience ® 30 | E-mail kits@stepan.com to learn more. high-performance composites Source: Rice University/Teijin "superfiber" created in nanospinning process Richard Smalley, and Teijin Aramid have been working on producing CNTs and forming them into useful macroscopic objects with extraordinary new performance properties. To spin a high-performance carbon nanotube textile thread or fiber, the nanotubes must be perfectly stacked and oriented along the fiber axis. According to the company, the most efficient method for doing this is to dissolve the CNTs in a superacid, followed by wet spinning — the same patented process that has been used since the 1970s to spin Teijin Aramid's Twaron para-aramid fiber. Teijin says the Twaron technology enabled improved performance and is an industry-scalable method for manufacturing the nano superfiber. The method is expected to make it possible to apply CNT fibers in a wide range of commercial and industrial products. "This research and ongoing tests offer us a glimpse into the future possibilities of this new fiber," says Otto. "For example, we have been very excited by the interest of innovative medical doctors and scientists exploring the possibilities to use CNT fiber in surgical operations and other applications in the medical field." Teijin Aramid expects the fiber to replace copper in data cables and light power cables used in the aerospace and automotive industries, making aircraft and cars lighter yet more robust. Other applications could include integrating lightweight electronic components, such as antennae, into composites, or replacing cooling systems in electronics, where the high thermal conductivity of carbon nanofiber could dissipate heat. Teijin Aramid is trialing samples on a small scale with its most active prospective customers. Building a robust supply chain is high on the project team's priority list. Teijin Aramid's collaborators include research groups led by Professor Matteo Pasquali and Professor Jun Kono at Rice University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel), and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (Dayton, Ohio).

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