Improved Method for Producing Carbon Fiber

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Carbon fiber is an important material commonly used for anything from aircraft to golf club shafts. It is popularly used for its high strength and low weight properties. Current methods of producing carbon fiber involve heating the polymer polyacrylonitrile, which is quite expensive raw material. With the large number of carbon fiber parts being produced today a less expensive way to create this material is important to its continued use in industry.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new method for synthesizing carbon fibers. A hydrothermal process was designed for rapid conversion of polyethylene or its fibers, a commodity plastic, into carbon fibers. Polyethylene is significantly cheaper than polyacrylonitrile and the conversion process takes less overall time and temperature making it a superior method of producing carbon fibers.

-Low cost
-Quicker than current methods

Potential Applications:
-Carbon fiber parts
-Aircraft and spacecraft
Jan 27, 2020
Utility Patent
United States

Jan 29, 2019
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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West Lafayette, IN 47906

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