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Fraunhofer Institute to show ComCarbon technology at ILA
Courtesy: Fraunhofer Institute
The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) is set to present its ComCarbon technology at the ILA Berlin 2018, a leading aerospace trade fair, which will be held from April 25 to 29, 2018. The institute will also present examples of applications for polymer-based lightweight construction and function-integrated plastics at the exhibition.
Light-weight design plays an important role in more than just carbon fibres at the Fraunhofer IAP. Its scientists will present a section of an aircraft engine inlet made of fibre-reinforced plastic at the booth they will share with the business development department of the State of Brandenburg, located in hall 3, booth 403c.
Whether in airplanes, racing cars, high-performance yachts, or bicycles - carbon fibres are the most advanced reinforcement fibres used to produce extremely lightweight composites. Nevertheless, penetrating mass markets, like the automotive, construction and other industries, which currently use glass and natural fibres, remains difficult. One of the main reasons is the high production costs of today’s carbon fibres. A significant price reduction could contribute to a substantial increase in the use of carbon fibres in these sectors.
About half the cost of producing conventional carbon fibres is incurred in producing the precursor, the polyacrylonitrile fibre (PAN). This so-called precursor fibre cannot be melted, and is therefore, produced using an expensive solution spinning process.
Professor Johannes Ganster, who heads the Biopolymers research division at the Fraunhofer IAP said, “We have developed an alternative PAN-based precursor technology that saves around 60 per cent of the precursor costs. It is based on an inexpensive melt spin process using special, meltable PAN co-polymers that we developed especially for this purpose. Once they are converted to an unmeltable state, these cost-effective precursor fibres can then be processed into carbon fibres in the same way as conventional precursors using the established production routes.” (GK)