Futuristic PD Workshop - CSIRO: Building a Carbon Fibre Industry in Australia

Wed 14 Mar 2018 (6:00pm - 8:00pm)
A/AA Offices
Level 16, 356 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
NGN student member $15.00
NGN member $25.00
Non-member $35.00

Futuristic PD Workshop - CSIRO: Building a Carbon Fibre Industry in Australia

Building a Carbon Fibre Industry in Australia

Carbon fibre is increasingly being utilized as a reinforcing material due to its high strength and high modulus, which is imparted into the properties of the final composite. Carbon fibre (CF) is composed almost entirely of carbon atoms arranged in extended planar hexagonal sheets. CF is characterised by high strength (tensile strength), stiffness (tensile modulus), and brittleness; it has a high strength to weight ratio, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance, and low thermal expansion. These properties make composite materials derived from carbon fibre ideal for many applications, including for aerospace, civil engineering, military, and transport.

About 90% of all commercial CF is made from acrylonitrile, with the remaining 10% made from pitch and rayon. The production of CF from acrylonitrile is a complex process that typically involves three distinct processes (Figure 1); polymerisation of acrylonitrile to produce polyacrylonitrile (PAN, aka precursor polymer); conversion of PAN to PAN fibre (aka white or precursor fibre); and carbonisation of PAN fibre to produce CF. The resulting CF can be processed into in a variety of forms, including yarns, weaves, and braids, which are in turn used to create carbon fibre composite (CFC) parts when combined with resins.

Figure 1: The carbon fibre value chain

The opportunity:
It is widely understood in the open literature and industry, and confirmed through stakeholder interviews, that the production of the PAN fibre from acrylonitrile accounts for about 50% of the CF production cost, but sets about 80% of the material properties and performance of the final CF.

The innovation: Our work is aimed at the design, development and evaluation of PAN with well-defined structural characteristics through the application of RAFT polymerisation technology. Early data has clearly demonstrated the potential of this approach through the production of carbon fibre equivalent to commercial grade (T300) suitable for automotive applications, achieved with only minimal refinement and process optimisation.

This presentation will detail our experimental program and progress to date.  

Dr John Tsanaktsidis
Research Director - Advanced Fibres and Chemical Industries Program
CSIRO Manufacturing

Dr Tsanaktsidis is a synthetic organic chemist with over 30 years of experience, focussing on the development and translation of chemistry solutions to the chemical industry. Dr Tsanaktsidis is currently the Research Director of the Advanced Fibres and Chemical Industries Program (AFCI) at CSIRO Manufacturing. As Research Director, he sets the vision, strategy for AFCI to deliver outcomes and impact through mission directed, multi-disciplinary and collaborative science aligned to the goals of a CSIRO Manufacturing Business Unit. Dr Tsanaktsidis applies his extensive background and experience in scientific research, management, business development, technology commercialisation, and business leadership to deliver commercial value to clients through the creation and translation of innovative technical solutions to the chemical manufacturing industry.

Dr Tsanaktsidis has authored or co-authored over 60 peer reviewed papers, 5 patents, and 2 book chapters, and has an h-index of 17. His efforts have been recognised by CSIRO for Business Excellence (2003) and Project Management (2004), and through a Chief's Innovation Award for his efforts in continuous flow chemistry (2012), and by The Flinders University of South Australia in 2006 through a Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr Tsanaktsidis is a Fellow of the RACI and has served as Chair of the Organic Chemistry Division of the RACI, the peak body for chemists in Australia.


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