- 1 Introduction To Carbon Fibres
- 1.1 Composition & Properties
- 1.2 Manufacturing Process of Carbon Fibre
- 1.3 Application Of Carbon Fibre
- 1.4 Chemical & corrosion
- 1.5 Carbon for Human Kind
- 2 Conclusion
Introduction To Carbon Fibres
Carbon fibre is fibre of about 5 to 10 micrometer in dia& composed of carbon atoms.It is a high tensile strength, high stiffness, low weight, high chemical resistance & high-temperature resistance. It is 40% lighter & 10 times stronger than aluminium & steel.
It is believed that in 1860 Joseph Swan first invented carbon fibre for use in the light bulb.And in 1879 Thomas Edison baked cotton and bamboo fibre at a high temperature & controlled atmosphere to carbonizing them into carbon filament used for the light bulb.
In 1958 Roger Bacon produced high-performance carbon fibre using Rayon fibres as the precursor at Union Carbide PharmaTechnical center outside Ohio.
More advanced & high-performance carbon fibre developed by Dr. AkioShindo at Agency of Industrial Science & Technology, Japan using polyacrylonitrile or popularly known as PAN.
In 1970 Union Carbide and Toray Industries are the biggest producers of carbon fibre.But the biggest producer of PAN-based carbon fibre is Toray, Japan.
Composition & Properties
Carbon fibre is mostly supplied in the form of a continuous tow wound on to a reel.The tow is a bundle of thousands of individual carbon filaments held together & protected by an organic coating such as Polyethylene oxide (PEO) or polyvinyl alcohol(PVA), each carbon filament in the tow is a continuous cylinder with a dia of 5-10 micrometer & consist of almost carbon.
Manufacturing Process of Carbon Fibre
Carbon filament is produced from a polymer such as Polyacrylonitrile (PAN), Rayon & Petroleum pitch known as a precursor.This precursor is spun into filament yarn using the chemical & mechanical process to initially align the polymer atoms in a way to enhance the final physical properties of the complete carbon fibre.
After spinning the carbon filament heated to drive of noncarbon atoms (Carbonization) producing the final carbon fibre and then wound to the bobbin.
Application Of Carbon Fibre
Carbon fibre is mostly used to reinforce composite materials& known as CFRP(Carbon fibre reinforced plastic).Because of its lightweight & strength, it has replaced steel, aluminum, plastic in many fields.
It is used in Aerospace, defense, sporting goods, renewable energy, automobile, infrastructure, chemical & corrosion, mass transportation, medical application.
Carbon fibre used widely in aircraft components & structure. Almost 30% of carbon fibre used in Aerospace industry in a commercial plane, fighter plane, helicopter, glider.
According to a report from Reuters & Bloomberg, Delta Airlines is interested in being one of Boeing’s first customer for the ‘797’ a new mid-size aircraft with an all carbon composite fuselage.
The first private sponsor space launch by Elon Musk which launches world’s heaviest rocket Falcon heavy carrying Tesla Roadster inside it has extensively used carbon composites.
The Falcon heavy ‘s use of composites extends beyond just the faring. The interstage which connects the upper & lower stages of the rocket is a composite structure with an aluminum honeycomb core & carbon fibre face sheet.
Ship & Boat Industry
Most of the luxury Yachats, Leisure Boat, Rescue Boat, Sporting Boat, Rowing Boat under 50 feet are made of carbon composites.
The US Department of Defence ‘s Defence Advanced Research Project (DARPA) has completed trial of the “ Sea Hunter”, the World’s largest unmanned Ship which made of carbon composites with other metal. The Ship features a composite Hull & foam core with GFRP skin.
The main hull, deck, internal structure & outriggers are made of E-Glass infused with vinyl ester resin as well as a carbon fibre epoxy pre-peg.The ship weighs 145 tons (with full load displacement) and can travel approximately 10,000 nautical miles at 12 knots. The goal is to reach the top speed between 24 & 27 knots.
In defense, it is used in Fighter plane, Light aircraft, helicopter, the surveillance drone, missiles, rocket, tents, protective helmets, soldiers personal gears, field cabins etc.
Sporting Goods:-It is used in racing bicycle, tennis racquets, shoes, ice hockey stick, helmets.
Energy Sector:-It is mostly used in windmill turbine blade, High-temperature Atomic reactor etc.
Carbon fibre is mostly used in the racing car but widely used as internal components & seat frames.
Infrastructure & Building Industry
In infrastructure industry it is used as an alternative to the steel rod, angles .it is used as abrasion resistant pipes, roof sheets, manhole cover, satire case, cage ladder, FRP wirehouse, cabin, cooling towers etc.
In Chicago’s downtown, the first tall building made of structural steel and consider the first skyscraper with 10 stories high in 1884 and then current tallest Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 206 stories also made of steel. But now with carbon & composites, it will soon replace steel with many skyscrapers.
Another significant thing is because of its durability it can be molded to any shape without much difficulties & with less manpower in less time thus saving the future building cost.
Cyclist during rally subjected to road rash when they fall while wearing less than protective gears. Athletic gear manufacturer Scott is developing shorts & jerseys using both carbon fibre & ceramic so the garment holds up if the rider sliding across the pavement.
Originally developed by the company Schoeller Textiles the protective fabric which will be used to reinforce the shoulders & hips of the Scott garment is covered in patterns of ceramic particles that serve to protect the material from the friction of a rider hitting the road.
It also helps the fabric being tearing thus saving the rider’s skin. The reinforced section is actually woven with carbon fibre to make them strong, lightweight & flexible.
Use in Robotic
Robot making Industry uses carbon composites to make the robotic arm. The lighter weight in the arm keeps the internal force low allowing it to move quickly with high acceleration & deceleration. The ability to reduce weight & increase stiffness reflects directly in faster response time & reduces motor & actuator loads.
The robot which is used in nuclear industry, airplane inspection & much other application where the environment is either extremely harsh to human or the ability to climb side way & upside down would result in drastically reduced labor time & risk to the human life.
So nowadays the demand for carbon fibre in the robotic industry has increased tremendously.
Toho Tenax, the core company of the Teijin’s carbon fibre & composite business has developed a lightweight multi-material roof cover for a fuel cell bus made with composites.The roof cover is adapted for the World’s first mass-produced fuel cell bus, which was developed by Toyota.The roof cover is a combination of carbon fibre reinforced plastic(CFRP), aluminum and other light weight engineering plastic.
Furniture & Fittings
It is used as luxury bath tubs, coffee table, park bench, chair, doors etc.
Medical Technology & Healthcare
It is widely used in imaging equipment structure to support limbs being x-rayed or treated with radiation.It is used for artificial limb and some artificial body component.
South African Athlete Oscar Pistorius brought carbon fibre limb to prominence when the International Association of Athlete Federation failed to ban him from competing in the Beijing Olympics. Carbon fibre is currently used in prosthetic, orthopedic & orthotics application.
And carbon fibre is going to used as carbo medical technology where wheel chair, surgical instrument, hip joints will make from carbon fibre.And also carbon fibre made devices are used for angiography, CT Scanners, electro medicine, Radiology & Radio surgery.One of the big advantages of carbon fibre is X-Ray transparency which improves patient tolerances for X-Ray.
Carbon composites bone implant where rod made of carbon composite inserted into bone’s medullary (Central marrow) cavity to align & stabilize the fracture & the rods are shared the load with the bone and this rod or called nails are made using longitudinal & bidirectional helical carbon fibre in a PEEK matrix.
As the material renders the nail radiolucent and completely compatible with X-Ray, Computerized tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans enabling better post operative monitoring of the fracture portion.Another body in-plant is a spacing disc used in spinal disc replacement.
Carbon fibre composites have found a strong market in imaging table & accessories used in nuclear (X-Ray), CT, Position Emission Tomography(PET) & MRI. Carbon composites are radiolucent that is they absorb very low levels of radiant energy. Minimizing signal attenuation to enable capture a clear image of target body parts.
Chemical & corrosion
Carbon fibre mats either alone or supplemented with a ground carbon or graphite filler provide in-depth grounding systems and static control in the hazardous area where a static spark may result in fires and explosion.It is widely spread in anti-static application &use in large chimney liner, hazardous chemical container.
Application of carbon fibre in Agriculture:- It is used in greenhouse structure, storage silos for food grains, cold storage.
Carbon for Human Kind
Plasan Carbon Composite(PCC) a leading supplier of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) component for the transportation market announced that it has been awarded a contract to produce the first composite ramps & bridge plate for Amtrack.
The units which are part of Amtrak’s Accessible Boarding Technologies(ABT) program, help make it easier & more accessible for passenger with disabilities ,elderly as well as those pushing strollers or pulling luggage to embark & disembark from train,providing as close to independent access as possible as all available Rail car along a platform.
Low-cost carbon project:- The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Southern Research for an award of up to 5.9 million USD to advance production of high-performance low-cost carbon fibre from biomass.
The DOE award will fund development of a multi-step catalytic process for conversion of sugars from non-food biomass to acrylonitrile a key pre cursor in the production of carbon fibre.
By focusing on the conversion of biomass-derived sugars to acrylonitrile the key raw materials in the highest quality carbon fibre. Southern Research is enabling low-cost carbon fibres without any compromise in product & performances.
The process developed by Southern Research team lead by Dr.Amit Goyal, Associates Director & the principal investigator on the project, produce acrylonitrile that is around 20% cheaper than conventional production methods.
The process also results in a 37% reduction in green house gases.
The process method not only cheaper but also improve the overall environmental foot print of carbon fibre production when compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
This is surely a welcome sign for the growth of carbon fibre & composite industry.
India’s composite industry which stood around 3 lakh metric ton in 2015 is projected to grow rapidly to reach 4.18 lakh metric ton by 2020
The recent announcement by Road & Transport Minister to replace all diesel and petrol car by 2030 is surely positive hope for carbon fibre.It is estimated that India has the target to produce 60 GWs wind energy by 2022 and it will require additional 5000 to 6000 MT carbon fibre.
India’s defense and space industry and Atomic Reactor, which are the largest user of carbon fibre have some ambitious project which includes ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), Light Combat Aircraft, Advanced Light Weight Helicopter and high-temperature Atomic Reactor.
For above all project there is a huge demand for carbon fibre but unfortunately, we are dependent on USA, EUROPE, JAPAN & CHINA.If India government support to bring up carbon raw material units and produce carbon fibre locally the surely there is a big scope to the growth of this industry.