High-Modulus PAN-based Carbon Fiber

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  • Transformation of general PAN-based carbon fiber into high-modulus carbon fiber
  • More efficient access to intermediate-modulus (IM) & high-modulus (HM) carbon fibers
  • Winner at JEC Asia Innovation Awards, category: Raw Materials

UHT Unitech Co., Ltd, Taiwan, has introduced a new system to transform general PAN-based carbon fiber into high-modulus carbon fiber. This solution provides a more efficient and convenient access to intermediate-modulus (IM) and high-modulus (HM) carbon fibers, without considering precursor quality and huge investments in a facility for the whole production line. With a patented ultra-heating technology, microwave heating, combined with resizing and a re-winding technique, a new graphitization system was built.

Focus on electromagnetic energy inside the carbon fibers

The system focuses electromagnetic energy inside the carbon fibers and generates a huge amount of heat in a few seconds. This innovation has multiple advantages such as a 70% reduction in energy consumption, applicability to all types of PAN carbon fibers, availability of a sizing alternation, and being an environmentally friendly process.

carbon fiber spool

So far, IM or HM carbon fiber products have been very expensive and well-controlled materials. This project eliminates most front investments such as precursors, oxidation and carbonization systems, along with higher energy efficiency, enabling many new types of IM and HM carbon fiber to be created at lower cost. For example, it is now possible to upgrade products like the Toray T700 grade (to an IM-grade fiber like T800, called U30S in UHT’s system (strength: 5,300 MPa, modulus: 295 GPa) with stable quality and around 15 to 30% cost reduction.

IM CF product line with a 300 tons/year production capacity

UHT began to work on this innovation in 2011, and has now successfully built a new IM CF product line with a 300 tons/year production capacity in Zhongli, Taiwan. More than 10 international patents have been set up. The next generation of PAN carbon fiber products with high and ultrahigh modulus is expected to be launched ahead of 2015 with a production capacity of 1000 tons/year. Many potential applications are possible, for instance in aeronautics, wind blades, vessels, construction, among others.

UHT’s project is to transform general PAN-based carbon fiber into high-modulus carbon fiber. This solution provides a more efficient and convenient access to intermediate-modulus (IM) and high-modulus (HM) carbon fibers, without considering precursor quality and huge investments in a facility for the whole production line. With a patented ultra-heating technology, microwave heating, combined with resizing and a re-winding technique, a new graphitization system was built.

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