Georgia Tech researchers have developed a method for creating high strength, high modulus, and high thermal stability carbon fiber from PAN using a gel-spinning technique. The gel-spinning process gives the fiber its high strength characteristics. The fiber is then drawn and stabilized to obtain the high elastic modulus and high thermal stability without ultra-high temperature heat treatment. The resulting elastic modulus is 25-30% higher and the thermal stability is 100 °C greater than that of current state-of-the-art fibers.
- Lighter – Carbon fiber is lighter than metals and exhibits significantly higher strength characteristics
- Stronger and More Thermally Stabile – Process produces stronger fibers by using new processing techniques
- Lower Energy Manufacturing – Process does not require ultra-high temperature for heat treatment of fibers
- Automobile and vehicle manufacturing
- Plane manufacturing
- Space craft manufacturing
As industry tries to cut down weight of products and environmental impact of using metals, there is a shift to using carbon-based materials due to their lightweight and superb mechanical properties. Carbon fiber has low weight and high strength characteristics, which makes it a desirable material for many applications that require weight savings but high strength. Common carbon fibers are produced using polyacrylonitrile (PAN) dry-jet wet spinning or wet spinning technologies to produce high strength carbon fiber. While PAN fibers with a high modulus of elasticity have been produced, it is at the expense of tensile strength. There is a market need to increase the tensile strength of these fibers along with their elastic modulus.