The primary sources of biomass for the lignin feedstock material for the carbon fiber production equipment in a new federal Carbon Fiber Technology Center will be:
Switchgrass grown for production of cellulosic ethanol and related biofuels.
Hybrid poplars (Populus species) similarly grown for production of cellulosic ethanol and related biofuels.
Hard and softwood tree plantations (Tree Farms) grown for pulp and paper production (primarily softwood in North America).
Waste wood materials (sawdust, wood shavings, etc.) from the forest products industry.
That’s according to Dr. Frederick S. Baker, CSci, CChem, FRSC Distinguished R&D Staff at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) in Tennessee. The purpose of the project is to dramatically reduce the cost of carbon fiber so that it becomes affordable for use in automotive composites.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
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