Innovative carbon fibers for thermoplastic applications
At present, the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components used in applications are predominantly manufactured with duromer (thermoset) matrix materials (resins). However, the resin systems currently available on the market have some disadvantages as compared to thermoplastic matrix materials – i. e. those that are pliable and moldable in a certain temperature range – with regard to cycle time, energy consumption, storage time and recycling capability. Therefore, thermoplastics should be increasingly used in the future, in order to enable cost-efficient production of CFRP components.
However, since they have different material properties as compared to resin, the use of thermoplastic matrix materials requires a new type of innovative carbon fiber that is adapted to thermoplastics. In order to develop optimum properties in the composite, these fibers must have a higher degree of elasticity and a surface tailored to the matrix material.
This is where the proposed project comes into play. The aim of the project is to develop a carbon fiber that has a higher degree of elasticity than the state of the art and at the same time has surface properties designed to form an optimal bond with thermoplastic matrix material. To achieve this goal, the process parameters of the carbon fiber production will be varied during the project in all steps of the fiber manufacturing process. In addition, the effect on both the mechanical properties and the resultant surface properties of the fibers will be analyzed, in particular regarding the type and concentration of the functional group present on the surface as well as the topography of the surface at the nanoscale. The new fiber will then be used for the production of CFRP specimens and tested to evaluate their effectiveness and performance in the composite.
Figure: Various carbon fiber bundles
The use of thermoplastic CFRP is an optimal tool for achieving the cluster’s objectives, such as, e. g. reducing production costs and scrap rates and increasing the degree of automation. This project thus makes an important contribution to the MAI Carbon cluster, boosts the competitiveness of the partners involved, and at the same time helps strengthen the MAI region.