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.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
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