Next Generation Carbon Fiber
Volume 5, Issue 3
Hang Gi Chae, Georgia Institute of Technology
D.J. Delong, DeLong and Associates, LLC.
Satish Kumar, Georgia Institute of Technology
Carbon fibers exhibit up to ten times the load bearing strength of steel by weight. Despite the relative strength of carbon fibers, however, the strength of today’s carbon fibers is at least an order of magnitude lower than the theoretical strength of the carbon-carbon bond. Carbon fibers are largely made from a polyacrylonitrile (“PAN”) precursor. Recent studies show, however, that the addition of carbon nanotubes to the PAN precursor increases the tensile strength and modulus of the resulting carbon fiber. The market for next generation carbon fibers is growing, particularly in such areas as the manufacture of sporting equipment, composite tethers, fuel tanks for natural gas or hydrogen, uranium gas centrifuge rotors and energy storage, among others. In this article, Han Gi Chae, D. J. DeLong and Satish Kumar examine the properties of carbon fibers and the impact on markets of the production of carbon fibers using carbon nanotubes.
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