Carbon fiber from plants close to carbon-neutral? Scientists hopeful

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When it comes to materials with the most promise in automotive applications, carbon fiber and graphene each rank high on the list. Unlike graphene, however, real-world carbon fiber applications exist today—and they're helping automakers reduce the weight of cars coming tomorrow. Manufacturing Carbon Fiber research and development materials weight reduction Lightweight

Borealis Fibremod technology available for N American market; glass and carbon fiber-reinforced polypropylene

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Borealis, a supplier of polyolefin plastic materials for engineering applications in the automotive industry, announced the availability of Fibremod, its innovative carbon and glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (PP) technology, for the North American automotive market.

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First prototype carbon fiber chassis delivered from new £50M McLaren Automotive innovation and manufacturing center

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The first prototype carbon fiber MonoCell, the tub that forms the main structure of McLaren’s cars, has been shipped from the company’s new £50-million (US$66-million) innovation and production center in Yorkshire to the McLaren Production center (MPC) in Woking, Surrey. First prototype carbon fibre chassis delivered from the MCTC. Carbon fiber has long been part of McLaren’s toolkit, the company having first introduced the material into Formula 1 in the early 1980s.

Toray to supply carbon fiber composite materials for Lilium’s all-electric air vehicle

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Toray Industries concluded an agreement with Lilium GmbH to supply carbon fiber composite materials for the Lilium Jet. The aircraft’s primary structures, such as the fuselage, wings and flaps will all be made from carbon fiber. Lilium is spearheading the quest to manufacture air vehicle and develop and commercialize services. Carbon fiber composite materials are needed to lighten such vehicles as the Lilium Jet.

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Enter BMW — with Carbon Fiber

Revenge of the Electric Car

BMW MegaCity Urban Electric Car To Be Built of Carbon Fiber. First, the raw feedstock to make carbon fibers–just call it a “polacrylonitrile-based precursor&# –is made in Japan by a joint venture between SGL and Mitsubishi Rayon and flown to the U.S. The actual carbon fibers themselves are fabricated at Moses Lake, after which they’re flown to Germany, where they’re processed into lightweight fabrics in Wackersdorf.

New IACMI collaboration to develop advanced carbon fiber for hydrogen, natural gas storage tanks; $2.7M DOE award

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The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) will receive $2.7 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and validate technology that will reduce the cost of manufacturing high-performance carbon fiber by 25% to make composite natural gas or hydrogen fuel tanks to power cars and trucks. Significant cost reduction is especially difficult for the type of carbon fiber used in CSG tanks and this project addresses that challenge.

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3D printing with high-performance carbon fiber

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have become the first to 3D-print aerospace-grade carbon fiber composites, opening the door to greater control and optimization of the lightweight, yet stronger than steel material. The research, published by the journal Nature Scientific Reports , represents a “significant advance” in the development of micro-extrusion 3D printing techniques for carbon fiber, the authors said.

SGL Carbon to produce carbon fiber battery housing cover for BMW Group

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The BMW Group has selected SGL Carbon to produce a cover component for battery enclosures. This substantial multi-year order will include the production of an innovative glass-fiber-based cover plate for the battery housing for usage in a future plug-in hybrid model of BMW Group. Composite materials m are suited for battery enclosures for different reasons—besides their light weight, which enhances the electric vehicle’s range, fiber-reinforced plastics offer high stiffness.

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LeMond Carbon obtains independent verification of its carbon fiber rapid oxidation technology

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LeMond Carbon announced the results of an independent technical audit conducted by Bureau Veritas (BV) of its carbon fiber manufacturing process. The audit was conducted on a pilot line at Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus facility in Geelong, Australia. The total oxidation time and material properties verified by BV support LeMond’s claims to lower costs and significantly increased output versus traditional carbon fiber technology.

Lux: carbon fiber to go mainstream in automobiles by 2025

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Driven by a faster-than-expected pace of technology development, carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs) will be poised to gain widespread adoption for automotive lightweighting by 2025, according to a new report from Lux Research, “Scaling Up Carbon Fiber: Roadmap to Automotive Adoption.”. Advances already underway in fiber, resin and composite part production will lead to a $6 billion market for automotive CFRPs in 2020, more than double Lux’s earlier projection.

CSIRO produces Australia’s first home-grown carbon fiber

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CSIRO scientists have produced Australia’s first entirely home-grown carbon fiber, paving the way for Australian industry to mass-produce the next generation materials, used in everything from bicycles and tennis rackets to satellites and fighter planes. Australia’s first carbon fiber was produced using polyacrylonitrile fiber, spun on the joint CSIRO/Deakin University wet spinning line, then carbonized at Deakin’s “Carbon Nexus” facility.

Ford’s first mass-produced carbon fiber wheels

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To source the new lightweight track-capable carbon fiber wheels that are standard on the new Shelby GT350R Mustang, Ford partnered with Australia-based Carbon Revolution. Carbon Revolution first began delivering composite wheels in 2004 for Formula SAE campaigns. The one-piece carbon fiber wheels for the Mustang weigh nearly half that of an equivalent aluminum wheel (18 pounds versus 33 pounds), and handling and acceleration performance see serious benefits.

LeMond Composites licenses ORNL low-cost carbon fiber manufacturing process; transportation, renewable energy, & infrastructure

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LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, has licensed a low-cost, high-volume carbon fiber manufacturing process developed at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The agreement will make Oak Ridge-based LeMond Composites the first company to offer carbon fiber produced by the process to the transportation, renewable energy, and infrastructure markets.

Vitesse AuDessus introduces line of one-piece carbon-fiber wheels

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US bespoke carbon fiber workshop Vitesse AuDessus has introduced a line of one-piece, full carbon-fiber wheels. Vitesse AuDessus’s new wheels use prepreg carbon fiber fabric that is hand-laid and autoclave-cured in CNC-milled aluminum moulds, a process shared by Formula 1 race teams and Sweden-based supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg. Typical lead time for the company’s one-piece, full carbon fiber wheels is 3-4 weeks.

Danish startup produces carbon-fiber lightweight chassis

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Danish start-up ECOmove has developed a technology which it says makes it possible to manufacture a carbon-fiber chassis without using special equipment. The greatest challenge for most electrical car manufacturers is to increase the overall range. We have acquired extensive knowledge and competences in manufacturing lightweight-chassis for electrical cars, which can help reduce the total weight. ECOmove calls its carbon-fiber technology Qstrung.

Magna to produce carbon fiber composite body panels

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Magna Exteriors, an operating unit of Magna International, has been awarded new business to supply painted automotive body panels made from carbon fiber composite material for two 2016 model-year vehicles. Magna Exteriors has successfully advanced its capabilities to now produce class-A carbon fiber composite body panels at the production rates needed for the automotive industry.

CarboSax: new joint venture for more sustainable carbon fiber production forms in Germany

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PD Glasseiden, a Germany-based producer of fiberglass; European Carbon Fiber GmbH; and the ForschungsCampus Open Hybrid LabFactory e.V., established under the auspices of the Lower Saxony Research Centre for Vehicle Technology at the TU Braunschweig and Volkswagen AG have formed a joint venture— CarboSax GmbH —to pursue developing, manufacturing and distributing more sustainable carbon fibers in Germany.

BMW and SGL to triple production capacity at Moses Lake carbon fiber plant with $200M expansion; world’s largest carbon fiber plant

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A production line for carbon fiber takes the PAN precursor through two stages (stabilization/oxidation and carbonization) and then to winding. Due to the high demand for carbon fiber in automotive production, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers , a joint venture between the BMW Group and the SGL Group, will triple the capacity of the carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington. 3,000 tons of carbon fiber.

DOE to award up to $12M for technologies to produce renewable carbon fiber from biomass

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award ( DE-FOA-0000996 ) up to $12 million in funding to advance the development of a cost-competitive pathway to produce high-performance carbon fiber for vehicle lightweighting from renewable non-food biomass. Carbon fiber composites are lightweight, yet strong, materials that can greatly improve vehicle fuel efficiency when incorporated into structural and non-structural components.

Magna and Ford developing prototype carbon fiber composite subframe; mass reduction of 34%

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in cooperation with Ford Motor Company, developed a prototype carbon fiber composite subframe which reduces mass by 34% compared to making a stamped steel equivalent. The carbon fiber subframe is the result of a research and development project between Magna and Ford to investigate potential mass-reduction benefits and technical challenges of using carbon fiber-reinforced composites in chassis applications.

Ford displays prototype Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic hood

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At the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Ford Motor Company displayed a prototype carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) hood. As a result of progress made during an on-going Hightech.NRW research project involving engineers from the Ford European Research Centre, production time for an individual carbon fiber hood is fast enough to be employed on a production line—a significant step towards increased usage of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.

ORNL seeking US manufacturers to license new carbon fiber process; reduces cost up to 50% and energy up to 60%

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Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a production method they estimate will reduce the cost of carbon fiber as much as 50% and the energy used in its production by more than 60%. The analysis revealed the new process yields significant reductions in materials, capital and labor costs resulting in an overall manufacturing cost reduction of up to 50%. Licensing information for manufacturers in the US is available here.

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PNNL leads team to accelerate development of affordable carbon fiber composites

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This approach should speed the development of more economical carbon fiber materials. Fiber orientation prediction in 3D complex part using the Autodesk software (Left) that was imported into the 3D ABAQUS model (Right) for stiffness performance prediction using the PNNL-developed Eshelby-Mori-Tanaka Approach to Non-Linear Analysis (EMTA-NLA) model in ABAQUS. While stronger and lighter than steel, carbon fiber composites are relatively expensive.

NREL develops novel method to produce renewable acrylonitrile; carbon fibers from renewable biomass

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Today, acrylonitrile is used in the production of acrylic fibers for carpets, clothes, and fabrics, and in plastics such as food containers, and packaging materials. Most importantly for this project, acrylonitrile is also the primary building block in carbon fiber composites, which are used for lightweighting applications in automotive and air transportation.

BMW Group and Boeing to collaborate on carbon fiber recycling

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The BMW Group and Boeing signed a collaboration agreement to participate in joint research for carbon fiber recycling as well as share carbon fiber manufacturing process simulations and ideas for manufacturing automation. Both the BMW Group and Boeing are pioneering the use of carbon fiber in their products. This collaboration agreement is a very important step forward in developing the use and end use of carbon fiber materials.

Could Renewable Bamboo Be As Strong As Carbon Fiber For Lightweight Cars?

Green Car Reports

Carbon fiber now appears poised to enter the mainstream of automotive materials, but a less high-tech material could be waiting in the wings as well. Bamboo could be the next carbon fiber, according to a new article on BBC Autos (only visible in U.S., Surfboard manufacturer Gary Young uses bamboo in his boards already, and he told the

IACMI, DuPont and Purdue partner on automotive carbon-fiber composites

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The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, IACMI , in partnership with DuPont Performance Materials, Fibrtec Inc. and Purdue University, has launched the first project selected with a dual focus on decreasing the cost of manufacture and increasing design flexibility for automotive composites. The final component will benefit from increased production speeds of the tow manufacturing process and the fabric forming process resulting in a lower cost of manufacture.

New grade carbon fiber from Toho Tenax for aircraft and automotive

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the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers and composites business, has developed a new grade carbon fiber— TENAX XMS32—that achieves both high-intensity and high-tensile modulus required for aircraft and automotive applications. Toho Tenax developed its new grade carbon fiber with a uniform structure by optimizing the structural design of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based precursor and by optimizing its manufacturing process.

Ford, DowAksa jointly to develop carbon fiber for high-volume automotive light-weighting applications

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Ford and DowAksa signed a joint development agreement (JDA) formally to advance research on cost-effective, high-volume manufacturing of automotive-grade carbon fiber, a material poised to play a significant role in the drive to make vehicles lighter. will combine DowAksa’s feedstock capacity, carbon fiber conversion and downstream intermediates production capabilities with Ford’s expertise in design, engineering and high-volume manufacturing.

DOE awarding $11M to advance renewable carbon fiber production from biomass

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million for two projects that aim to advance the production of cost-competitive, high-performance carbon fiber material from renewable, non-food-based feedstocks, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass. Carbon fiber can lower the cost and improve performance of fuel-efficient vehicles and renewable energy components such as wind turbine blades. This funding supports the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.

DOE issues RFI on renewable carbon fibers; biomass-derived acrylonitrile

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) ( DE-FOA-0000975 ) regarding the state of technology development and commercial readiness of emerging renewable carbon fiber (RCF) technologies. While carbon fibers are manufactured commercially using petroleum-derived acrylonitrile (ACN), there are emerging technology pathways to biomass-derived acrylonitrile (bio-ACN) that may offer a cost competitive and potentially high performance alternative.

ORNL team develops laser process for lower cost, more robust joining of carbon fiber and aluminum

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Researchers led by a team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a new laser process that could make joining carbon fiber composites and aluminum for lightweight cars and other multi-material high-end products less expensive—as well as making the joints more robust. The surface treatment of aluminum and carbon fiber polymer composite is a critical step in the adhesive joining process, which directly affects the quality of bonded joints.

Lamborghini inaugurates new Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory carbon fiber research center in Seattle

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Automobili Lamborghini celebrated the grand opening of its new Seattle-based carbon fiber research facility, the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL). Operating as an entity outside of the company's headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the ACSL is responsible for unlocking new potential in carbon fiber. The grand opening of the new ACSL also marks the 30th anniversary of Lamborghini’s use of carbon fiber reinforced polymer in its vehicles.

Report: BMW and SGL to invest €100M to double automotive carbon fiber production

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Germany’s Handelsblatt reports that BMW and partner SGL will invest more than €100 million ($137 million) to double their joint production of carbon fiber to 6,000 metric tons a year from 3,000 tons a year now. In addition to meeting demand from the i3 and i8, the carbon fiber will also be used in new 7 series in 2015, according to the report. In 2011, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers officially opened its new carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, WA.

SoCalGas, partners developing technology to make carbon fiber during hydrogen production from methane; reducing the cost of H2 and cutting GHG

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SoCalGas) is partnering with a development team to advance a new process that converts natural gas to hydrogen, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes. This technology takes methane, turns it into a zero-emission automotive fuel—hydrogen—then uses the carbon captured in the process to make the strongest possible materials to be used in high-tech manufacturing. Southern California Gas Co.

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Toyota using Mitsubishi Rayon’s carbon fiber SMC for hatch door frame of new Prius PHV

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Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) (which is now consolidated into Mitsubishi Chemical , along with Mitsubishi Plastis and the former Mitsubishi Chemical) recently announced that its carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC) has been adopted for the rear hatch frame of the new Toyota Prius PHV. SMC is a form of thermoset chopped fiber composite; glass fiber reinforced SMC is already commonly in use in the automotive industry.

Ford collaborating with DowAksa on automotive-grade carbon fiber, part of IACMI

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Ford and DowAksa are accelerating joint research to develop high-volume manufacturing techniques for automotive-grade carbon fiber, aiming to make vehicles lighter for greater fuel efficiency, performance and capability. The companies will be part of the newly formed Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), created by the US government. —Jim deVries, Ford global manager, Materials and Manufacturing Research.

Gurit wins multi-annual automotive supply contract for carbon fiber body panels

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Gurit, a worldwide developer and manufacturer of advanced composites and technologies, has been selected as the supplier for carbon fiber based automotive body panels at a total contract value of more than CHF 30 million (US$34.2 Starting in the fourth quarter of 2015, the new project features industrial production of exterior Class-A carbon body panel parts utilizing both Gurit’s existing open mold manual and its new proprietary and patented advanced press technology.

Toray to expand carbon fiber supply to Boeing in $8.6B deal

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has agreed in principle to supply carbon fiber TORAYCA prepreg for the production of the new 777X aircraft by The Boeing Company. TORAYCA Prepreg is an intermediate TORAYCA product supplied in sheets consisting of resin-impregnated carbon fiber. The company is currently constructing a plant dedicated for manufacturing the main wings using carbon fiber composite material within the premises of its Everett, Washington plant.

SGL Group and BASF conclude joint research of innovative polyamide-carbon-fiber composite system; transfer into automotive applications under way

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On the basis of the now-complete material research, the transfer of the special systems made from carbon fibers and matrices into specific applications of customers in the automotive industry is now under way. The system aims at enhancing the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing thermoplastic carbon-fiber composites, for example in injection procedures (T-RTM: thermoplastic resin transfer molding) and reaction injection molding.

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Hexcel to invest $250M in new carbon fiber plant in France; capacity expansions at nearby weaving and prepreg facilities

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Hexcel Corporation will invest $250 million in the construction of a carbon fiber plant in Roussilon, France. The new carbon fiber facility will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon and will incorporate both polymerization and carbonization lines. Carbon fiber from the new plant will be supplied to Hexcel customers including Airbus for the A350 XWB and Safran for the CFM LEAP engine.

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SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers Breaks Ground in Moses Lake, Washington

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SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers—a joint venture of the BMW Group and SGL Group ( earlier post )— broke ground on the new greenfield carbon fiber manufacturing facility in Moses Lake, Washington. The facility in Moses Lake is a fundamental component of the joint venture’s strategy to commercialize manufacturing of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for use in BMW Group’s future Megacity Vehicle.

IACMI launches project to optimize resins and sizings for vinyl ester / carbon fiber composites; targeting automotive adoption

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The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), a Manufacturing USA institute driven by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the US Department of Energy, in partnership with Ashland, Zoltek, Michelman, University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), JobsOhio, and Michigan State University (MSU) has launched a project focused on the optimization of vinyl ester resins and fiber sizings for the fabrication of carbon fiber composites.

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