Carbon Fiber and Composites
Innovation in Carbon Fiber Production
Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Low-Cost Carbon Fiber work is focused on reducing production cost of industrial-grade carbon fiber by approximately half to enable widespread deployment in high-volume, cost-sensitive energy applications.
Carbon fiber is a strong, stiff, lightweight enabling material for improved performance in many applications; however, its use in cost-sensitive, high-volume industrial applications such as automobiles, wind energy, oil and gas, and infrastructure is limited because of relatively high cost. Current methods for manufacturing carbon fiber and carbon-fiber reinforced composite structures tend to be slow and energy intensive. New innovative manufacturing processes for low-cost precursor development and conversion technologies hold the key for reducing carbon fiber cost for energy applications. Similarly, innovative performance-focused materials and processes can potentially drive significant performance improvements for national security applications.
ORNL is advancing the development and commercialization of disruptive technologies in
- alternative precursors, notable derived from lignin and polyolefin,
- advanced processes such as a melt extrusion of fibers, microwave processing, and plasma processing,
- advanced composite manufacturing processes delivering fast cycle times with excellent repeatability, and
- the carbon fiber technology facility to foster technology transition for successful commercial application.
Building a Network with Industry
The Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium is a public–private partnership enabling a national network for innovations in manufacturing. The consortium’s mission is to foster industry-government collaborations to accelerate the development and deployment of lower-cost carbon fiber materials and processes and create a new generation of strong, lightweight composite materials that will improve America’s competitiveness. Learn more at www.cfcomposites.org.
- Lux insight on ORNL alternative CF precursor research
- Transportation Solutions Using Carbon Fiber
- Low-Cost Carbon Fiber Composites for Energy Applications 2009 Workshop
- Aerospace Workshop Planning Session Summary Report