China's research and development of carbon nanofiber forging China’s version of "black gold"

【Editor's press】 February 17, by the State Council in charge of the important financial media ——"Economic Daily" reported Chinacone R & D team and Chinacone Carbon nanotube fiber and composite materials project

China's research and development of carbon nanofiber forging China’s version of "black gold"

As a new dual-use material, carbon fiber is known as the 21st century "black gold". In our country, it is the focus of national defense aviation science and technology. However, its preparation of key technologies by the United States, Japan, and other developed countries has led to a long-term monopoly. China has long been following in an embarrassing situation.

Not long ago, the returnees entrepreneurial team, Chinacone, announced that its development of carbon nanotube fiber not only performed beyond the existing high-performance carbon fiber, but its preparation costs will be much lower. In the near future, carbon nanotube fiber is expected to replace carbon fiber on a large scale. This will help our country to achieve "corner overtaking".

New material in the top priority

Compared with ordinary fibers, carbon fiber is composed of organic solid polymer fiber in a 1000 ℃ to 3000 ℃ high temperature, inert gas environment. It has a high temperature decomposition and graphitization of carbon content, more than 90% of the fiber. Its mechanical, chemical, and electrical characteristics are excellent. It is an indispensable strategy of emerging materials to the national economy and national defense construction.

Carbon nanotubes, known as the ultimate fiber, is a single layer of graphite coaxial winding into a tube (single-walled carbon nanotubes) or single-walled carbon nanotubes along the coaxial layer made of the tube (multi-walled carbon nano tube). The diameter of carbon nanotubes is generally between one and several tens of nanometers, and the length is much larger than its diameter, with many extraordinary physical properties (mechanical, electrical, thermal) and chemical properties, which are one-dimensional carbon nanomaterials. As the best material for human discovery so far, carbon nanotubes have very high tensile strength, Young's modulus, and fracture strain.

Carbon nanotube fiber is tens of thousands of single nanotubes twisted together with the macro fiber, with light, high strength, versatility of the characteristics of a new generation of special fiber materials. Its high-end technology development is of great strategic significance. It is generally accepted that carbon nanotube fibers, as the next generation of new high-strength fiber materials, can be used in many areas where the strength of materials is high, especially in the aerospace field.

Carbon nanotube fiber reinforced advanced nanocomposites have high quality, high strength, and high elastic modulus characteristics. The strength of carbon fiber composites under the same strength is only one-seventh of the weight of aluminum alloy. That performs better than the current aerospace carbon fiber made of composite materials. This has applications not only in the civil field, but for a wide range of weapons and equipment. It will be widely used in the manufacture of aircraft body and engine, missile shells, and other fields.

Taking aerospace composites as an example, with the increasing function of aircraft and the rising price of petroleum fuel, the proportion of carbon fiber reinforced composites is increasing in the main structural parts of aviation aircraft. The mechanical properties of material requirements are also getting higher and higher.

In the field of high-end vehicles, the use of carbon fiber composite materials has also formed a trend. It is worth mentioning that the carbon fiber composite material will be lightweight and high strength. This can greatly enhance the driving experience. If the application of carbon fiber composite materials extended to the general automotive field, it can greatly reduce energy consumption and reduce environmental pollution.

In addition to aerospace and automotive contributions, carbon fiber composite materials can also be used for wind power, fuel cells, batteries, super capacitors, and other new energy and civilian equipment. While the next generation of energy continues to expand, the proportion of demand for civilian carbon fiber will be growing.

It is imperative to break the foreign monopoly.

For a variety of reasons, China's carbon fiber industry has long been blocked by technology and product embargo, as well as price constraints. At present, domestic enterprises can only produce low-grade carbon fiber. The manufacturing scale is also very small and cannot effectively ensure product consistency, as well as operating at a high cost. Production of large domestic aircrafts, fighters, unmanned aerial vehicles and many other major defense projects, as well as automotive, industrial equipment manufacturing and other fields, the use of advanced composite materials and pass rate from the international advanced level is still no small gap. Backward material processing technology has seriously hampered the development of China's high-end manufacturing.

Reporters learned that, as of now, only materials produced by a small number of companies in the United States and Japan meet the US Federal Aviation Administration international standard of performance. The Japanese company Toray almost exclusively produces the highest standard level, with products T800H and T800S.

In 2015, the State Council announced the 10 Years of Action Program, "China made 2025". Carbon fiber materials is the focus of the development of national defense aviation technology and the development of carbon fiber materials to make the deployment plan.

"Of the new materials, carbon fiber is the most important. Our country has been difficult to have a big breakthrough. There has been an uneven rate of high mechanical performance quality foreign products and preparation of aerospace structural materials,” the late father of Chinese materials science teacher, Changxu, has publicly admitted.

Can you stir billions of dollars in the market?

It is gratifying that China's passive situation in the carbon fiber industry is about to change. The company has developed a mass production of carbon nanotube fiber material, not only in performance beyond the existing high-performance carbon fiber, but the production of carbon nanotubes in the world's first carbon nanotube fiber production project. The preparation cost will be much lower than the traditional carbon fiber.

Dr. Fei Deng, head of the Science and Technology R & D Team (Leader and Chief Scientist), graduated from the University of Tokyo with the research direction "Research on Nanocomposites of Next Generation CFRP". After graduation, Dr. Fei Deng studied in the United States at the University of Delaware in composite materials. He continued to engage in advanced nano-composite materials research. The University of Delaware's composite materials center, as the leading research and development organization for current carbon fiber materials and advanced composites, has the world's leading R & D team and research and technology, which allows Dr. Deng to accumulate solid technical reserves and ultimately lead the team to a breakthrough.

According to the public search situation, the United States, Japan, Australia, and South Korea all have research teams doing carbon nanotube fiber research. However, according to the performance test data that has been published, the data on the indicators of the two most critical indicators and the Young's modulus are far ahead, with 3.2 to 5.05σ / Gpa and 120 to 330E, respectively / Gpa, performance almost equal to the most advanced T800H and T800S carbon fiber.

According to the industry magazine, Reinforced Plastics, it estimates that the global market for carbon fiber composite materials reached 29 billion US dollars in 2015. "2015-2020 China's carbon fiber industry market competition trends and investment strategy analysis report" pointed out that by 2020, domestic carbon fiber demand will have reached 26,000 tons, the average annual growth rate of about 18.8%. In 2020, China's carbon fiber industry market size will reach 12.8 billion US dollars.

According to Dr. Fei Deng's vision, "for those who need carbon fiber applications in the field, carbon nanotube fiber can be a better performance, with a lower cost to complete the alternative."

Although the outside world seems to think that this goal is quite radical, Dr. Fei Deng has enough confidence. He is emboldened from Chinacone and R & D team.

For the early realization of a comprehensive goal of carbon fiber replacement, Dr. Deng set up a doctoral research and development team. Team members have graduated from well-known foreign institutions. Their education not only covers the subject involved in the subject and direction, but also has a wealth of production processes and automation equipment design experience. At present, the team has made a number of patents, samples and production equipment trials progress smoothly.

In addition to the core team, Dr. Deng’s research has also been supported by many industry leaders and senior scholars. Dr. Fei Deng was mentored at the University of Tokyo during his Ph.D. by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tokyo, who founded a new field in the Graduate School. Old, made a special trip from Tokyo to Shenzhen to witness the start of production projects.

At present, Chinacone has received from PineVC tens of millions of yuan of venture capital investment in Shenzhen, China, Delaware, United States, Japan, and Hong Kong, China to synchronize operations. (Economic Daily reporter Wang Yichen)