Speeding up the production process of duromer carbon fiber reinforced plastics
For efficient and sustainable mobility planning, reducing the overall weight of transportation vehicles is essential. The use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) makes it possible to reduce weight by up to 60 % as compared to conventional steel constructions. Consequently, the goal is to firmly establish CFRP technology in automobile manufacturing as well. In order to use duromer (thermoset) plastics (e.g. epoxy resins) competitively in series production, a drastic reduction in production times and costs is required. Within the scope of the MAI Speed project, two of the time-limited factors will be examined: (1) the carbon fiber textile manufacturing process and (2) the embedding of the fiber in the plastic, including the curing time of the plastic. The following section will describe the methods our Project partners will use achieve these two goals.
Goal 1 – Double the speed of the manufacturing process: The intent is to double the speed of the textile manufacturing process by changing the surface finish of the carbon fibers. The plan is to apply an innovative surface treatment in order to activate the carbon fibers and develop appropriately robust, functional surface layers (coatings). Surface activation of the carbon fibers improves the wetting with the coating as well as the adhesion between fiber and coating. As a result, this reduces coating erosion, leads to less friction between the carbon fiber and processing machine during the textile processing, and ultimately results in achieving the goal of a faster textile manufacturing processes.
Figure: Plasma treatment of the carbon fiber surface
Goal 2 – Curing in half the time: The objective is to cut the mold filling and curing time of the plastics in half by developing new resin systems. Highly fluid resins will be used with the aim of improving the impregnation of the semi-finished carbon fiber products. The curing time can be reduced through the controlled acceleration of the reaction of the resin and curing agent plastic components.
Figure: Application of the coating on carbon fibers